PawTracks Summer 2015

PawTracks
Summer 2015
Volume XLII, No. 2
Editor: Nolan Crabb
Technical Assistant: Jane Sheehan
PawTracks is the quarterly magazine of Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI)
An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Visit GDUI Online at: www.guidedogusersinc.org
Toll-Free: (866) 799-8436

June 9, 2015
Table of Contents

Thoughts from the Editor

Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs 2015 Convention Program by Lilian Scaife
Convention Highlights by Lilian Scaife
Keep the Heart of Guide Dogs Clean: Join the Waste Warriors by Jenine M. Stanley
GDUI Representatives Attend TSA Conference in Los Angeles by Robert Acosta
Legislative Committee Update: Service Animals in Health Care Facilities
Thank You by Audrey Gunter
Fundraising Committee Update by Robert Acosta
A Positive Transition by Annie Chiappetta
March 28, 2015 GDUI Board Meeting Minutes by Sarah Calhoun
A Guide Dog Handler Salutes Fellow Advocates and an Airport Policeman by Robert Acosta

Please note that asterisks (*)separate each article Plus signs (+) separate subsections within
articles.
*****
Thoughts From the Editor
by Nolan Crabb

This issue of PawTracks marks the end of my first year in this assignment, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have edited and narrated the publication. Those four issues seem to have flown by more rapidly than I could have ever imagined. I’m most grateful to those who contribute information for the publication. Without that help, a rewarding assignment can become joyless drudgery in a heartbeat. My thanks to all of you who have suggested topics of focus for the publication. Those suggestions are guide stars as we put this out each quarter, and they matter.

Since there’s a need to get this out quickly, this is a relatively short issue. Still, it contains information of relevance to those who are planning a trip to Dallas in early July.

So it’s on to year two for me, and the deadline for submissions for the Fall issue is August 14.

Enjoy PawTracks, and keep in touch.
*****
Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs 2015 Convention Program
by Lilian Scaife
President: Penny Reeder
Program Chair: Lilian Scaife
Registration: $15
GDUI’s Suite hours:
• Sunday July 5, noon to 5 p.m.
• Monday and Tuesday, July 6 and 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Wednesday, July 8, 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Sunday, July 5
8 a.m. — 9 a.m.
GDUI Hotel Orientation
Once you learn your way around the hotel, you and your guide dog will zip through convention crowds and arrive at your destination relaxed and on time! Orientation provided by seasoned guide dog trainers and volunteers who understand the needs of guide dog users and our dogs.

11 a.m. — 12 p.m.
Helping Your Dog Adjust to the stresses of Convention Life
Presenter Becky Barnes Davidson
If this is your first convention or the first in a long time, this is a great way to learn tips for making the chaos of convention a less stressful experience for you and your dog. Presenters will share tips on dealing with all of those long mobility canes slashing back and forth at the level of your dog’s head, coping with the relief areas, finding help when you need it, meeting and greeting people and other dogs, and taking advantage of the respite offered in the GDUI Suite.

12 p.m.: GDUI Suite opens –
Socialize, take a break, and learn all about GDUI’s products from our very own Connie Jacomini. Give your dog the luxury of a 10 to 15 minute tension-relieving and restorative canine massage by Carla Campbell; a professional canine massage therapist for $20, available by appointment and walk-in basis (Sunday through Wednesday). Don’t miss our Silent Auction where you can bid on a multitude of goodies including tech gadgets, digital books, jewelry, and a tasty treat from Penny’s kitchen. You’ll want to try your chances at our raffling of “Dallas,” a beautiful plush black lab winnable through either three raffle tickets for $5 or seven for $10, as well as the GDUI Drawing, where a $10 chance might lead to all manner of prizes, including the grand prize of $1,000, and much more! The GDUI Suite is the place to be!
2 p.m. — 4 p.m.
Affiliate round-up (Location to be announced)
Affiliate representatives should come and introduce themselves to Debbie Grub, GDUI’s Affiliates’ Liaison. to assure that each affiliate’s votes count during the GDUI Caucus and business meeting.

4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
GDUI Board meeting and annual report
President: Penny Reeder

Monday, July 6
6:45 A.M. — 8:15 A.M.
GDUI Breakfast Club (meet in lobby)
The Mad Hatter Café
Treat your dog to a short two-block walk, treat yourself to the best in Southern breakfast fare, visit with GDUI friends and their dog guides.

7:30 A.M. — 8:30 A.M.
GDUI Hotel Orientation
Once you learn your way around the hotel, you and your guide dog will zip through convention crowds and arrive at your destinations relaxed and on time! Orientation provided by seasoned guide dog trainers and volunteers who understand the needs of guide dog users and our dogs.

1:15 p.m. — 5:30 p.m.
GDUI Opening Session
1:15 introductions, and preview of the Convention Program

2:45 p.m.
Self-familiarization to new environments: help your guide dog and yourself become oriented quickly and safely to a new location or unusual situation. Learn the basics from a seasoned trainer!
presenter: David Locklin, Class Coordinator — Leader Dogs for the Blind, Rochester Heights, MI

4:15 p.m. Guide Dog School Updates
What’s going on at the guide dog schools? What changes have they made over the past year, and what are they planning for the future? What are the qualifications that prospective students need to meet? Are there innovations coming, and
what do we need to know about them?
Always a highlight at the GDUI convention, the Guide Dog Schools Round-up lets us hear from the people who know the most about our schools.

7:15 p.m. to 10 p.m. – $15 $17
The Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception
As dog guide users, we all know how important our schools’ investments in personnel, breeding and acquisition of dogs, training time, and money are for creating excellent matches for each of us.
We at GDUI want to recognize and thank all of the guide dog schools for the time, energy and dollars they pour into our partnerships. As our way of saying thank you The 2015 GDUI Program Committee is pleased to host our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception. Come and Express your gratitude to the professionals who make it possible for us to achieve greater independence through our partnerships with our guide dogs.
Cash bar and snacks.

Tuesday, July 7
6:45 A.M. — 8:15 A.M.
GDUI Breakfast Club (meet in lobby)
The Mad Hatter Café
Treat your dog to a short two-block walk, treat yourself to the best in Southern breakfast fare, visit with GDUI friends and their dog guides.
Trainers will be available to assist with mobility questions and solve any problems.

1:15 p.m. — 5:30 p.m. GDUI Program
1:15 Past, Present and Future of Guide Dog Harnesses
Did you know that the first guide dog users didn’t even have a handle to hold onto? Learn how harnesses have evolved over time, and what we might expect from the space-age materials of the future.
presenter: Lukas Franck, Senior Consultant, Special Projects, The Seeing Eye, Morristown, NJ

2:45 p.m. Dual Purpose Service Dogs
Sometimes blindness is not the least challenging of our disabilities. Learn about guide dogs who are trained to meet the needs of people with additional disabilities.
presenters: Robert Wendler, Director of Canine Operations, Guide Dogs of the Desert, Palm Springs, CA
Nicole Meadowcroft, President, Custom Canines Service Dog Academy, Madison, WI

4:15 p.m.
Emergency Preparedness
Do you know how to prepare yourself and your guide dog for an emergency? What exactly is an emergency preparedness kit? Learn where you and your dog can find shelter if an emergency strikes.
presenter: Landa Phelan, Certified Emergency Preparedness Instructor, Hawaii Association of the Blind, Honolulu, Hawaii
7:15 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.
Guided Massage for the Working Guide: A Hands-On Workshop $6 ($8)
(Limited to 20 participants)
Presenter: Carla Campbell, Professional Canine Massage Therapist, Quadrussage, Menlo Park, CA
Learn & practice simple massage techniques designed to help counteract & reduce long-term impact guide work may have on your dog’s physical & mental well-being. There will also be a brief discussion on guide dog “wear and tear” and suggestions on how to mitigate those effects anywhere and everywhere.

Wednesday, July 8
6:45 a.m. — 8:15 a.m.
GDUI Breakfast Club (meet in lobby)
The Mad Hatter Café
Treat your dog to a short two-block walk; treat yourself to the best in Southern breakfast fare; visit with GDUI friends and their dog guides.
Trainers will be available to assist with mobility questions and solve any problems.

12:15 p.m. — 2:30 p.m.
GDUI Luncheon and Presentation $28 ($30)
Dr. Amanda Florsheim DVM, Dallas TX.
Do you wonder exactly how dogs communicate with each other and how this may impact your guide dog’s interactions with the dogs you meet along your way? During this talk, we will discuss visual, auditory, olfactory, and other ways that dogs communicate with one another. We will also discuss how service dogs may be more limited in these options while working and how this could impact other dogs’ responses to them

Drawing for Dallas and raffle

2:45 p.m.
GDUI Business Meeting and Caucus

4:15 p.m. — 5:30 p.m.
Guided Massage for the Working Guide: A Hands-On Workshop $6 ($8)
(Limited to 20 participants)
Presenter: Carla Campbell, Professional Canine Massage Therapist, Quadrussage, Menlo Park, CA
Learn & practice simple massage techniques designed to help counteract & reduce long-term impact guide work may have on your dog’s physical & mental well-being. There will also be a brief discussion on guide dog wear and tear and suggestions on how to mitigate those effects anywhere and everywhere.

Note: Jenine Stanley has recruited a cadre of dedicated volunteers who will be available all week to answer your questions and assist you with solving doggie pic-up and other relief-area concerns.

We wish to thank our entire dedicated Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs team whose members have worked so hard and so cooperatively to make the 2015 convention a success! What a team! Thank you, each of you.
Sincerely,
Lilian Scaife, GDUI Convention Program Committee Chair
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
*****
Convention Highlights
Lilian Scaife, Program Chair
Guide Dog Users, Inc. Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Convention Committee

This year’s GDUI convention will be jam packed with exciting events and goodies for both dogs and their humans. Participants (members and nonmembers,) and even those of you who can’t attend our convention, will be able to play an important part in many GDUI convention activities, such as the raffling of Dallas, the plush life-size guide dog, GDUI’s Silent Auction, and our guide dog school appreciation Reception.
Dallas – the Plushiest of guide Dogs!
Dallas is a beautiful plush dog with lovely locks of silk-like ebony hair, floppy ears, and a noble stance! More than just a plush toy, Dallas is a tribute to all guide dogs who make the lives of people with visual impairment easier, fun, and above all, safe. He’s GDUI’s grand prize and YOU can try your luck at taking him home with our raffle scheduled for July 8. Please note the winner does not need to be present for the drawing. Dallas will be shipped free of charge to the winner’s address.

To win Dallas, participants may purchase raffle tickets, either three for $5 or seven for $10. Raffle tickets may be purchased now via the GDUI website, http://guidedogusersinc.org/donate/ or by calling Jane Sheehan, GDUI’s office manager, at (866) 799-8436. Simply call and specify the number of tickets you’d like to purchase and whether you prefer to pay by check or PayPal.

If you use PayPal, you’ll receive your ticket numbers via email or postal mail.
Your original tickets will then be placed in the raffling drum. The winner will be contacted immediately after the drawing.
GDUI Annual Silent Auction
You won’t want to miss our silent auction at the GDUI Suite from Sunday, July 5, to Wednesday, July 8 at 11 a.m. where you can bid on a multitude of goodies that include tech gadgets, digital books, dog gear, jewelry, a tasty treat from Penny’s kitchen, and much more. The auction catalog will be emailed and posted on the GDUI website. The catalog will also be available in the GDUI suite in large print and braille, so come by the GDUI suite to pick one up! .
Guide Dog School Reception
GDUI wants to recognize and thank all of the guide dog schools for the passion, dedication, and commitment they pour into creating excellent matches for each of us. Needless to say, these schools are vital to the blind community. As our way of saying thanks, the 2015 GDUI Program Committee is pleased to host our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception, which will be held on Monday evening, July 6. To honor our schools and those who will be representing them at our convention, we are preparing a tribute booklet, which will be presented as a keepsake to all those representing our schools who attend, and mailed to all the schools honored by our reception after the event has ended. The tribute booklet provides a tangible way to thank our schools for the guide dogs who mean so much to us. We want to convey from deep in our hearts a respectful regard that resides within the heart of every guide dog partnership.

All of us love our dogs and appreciate the tremendous effort our schools put forward to make it possible for us to receive and work with our guides. You don’t have to be a member of our organization to contribute to the keepsake booklet. We welcome everyone’s participation, even if you are not planning to attend the convention.

Anyone can participate in this special Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception as a sponsor of the Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs tribute booklet. We are offering three sponsorship levels.

Silver Sponsorship, $10: As a Silver-level sponsor, your name, your dog’s name, and the name of your school will be listed in the tribute booklet.

Gold sponsorship, $25: As a Gold-level sponsor, you can have your name, your dog’s name and the name of your school listed in the booklet. You will also be able to include a brief message of no more than 35 characters.

Platinum sponsorship, $50: As a platinum-level sponsor, you can have your name, your dog’s name and the name of your school prominently listed in the booklet. You will also be able to include a personalized message of no more than 70 characters.
Payment methods:
Online: Please visit this link: http://guidedogusersinc.org/donate/, complete the form, and pay by PayPal. PayPal is highly secured, easy, and fast. If you don’t have a PayPal account, no problem. You’ll be prompted to enter a credit card number, and PayPal processes your payment. For more information on PayPal, please follow the link: https://www.paypal.com

By Phone: To pay by credit card via phone; contact the GDUI “office manager” at
Toll-free: (866) 799-8436.

Check: To pay by check via mail, make checks payable to GDUI. Be sure to include a clear print or braille copy of the message you want us to include. Mail to: GDUI, c/o Office Manager, 14311 Astrodome Drive, Silver Spring, Maryland 20906.

The deadline for sharing your information and your chosen level of sponsorship is June 12, 2015.

Sponsorships postmarked later than the deadline date of June 12 cannot be included. Please note that messages should not contain the name(s) of specific individuals associated with your guide dog school. We will do our best to keep the content of your messages as close to the original as possible; however, we reserve the right to make final editorial decisions. Following the convention, a copy of the tribute booklet will be available on the GDUI website and published in PawTracks.

Of course, if you are coming to our convention in Dallas, we hope you’ll be able to come to our reception as well!

Best regards,
and tail wags from Alexa,
Lillian Scaife, GDUI Program Committee Chair lmscaife@verizon.net
*****
Keep the Heart of Guide Dogs Clean:
Join The Waste Warriors!
by Jenine M. Stanley
This year in Dallas, we will try to put a new spin on an old topic. We know you’re tired of hearing about the importance of relieving your dog frequently, cleaning up accidents and all that. The last thing we want to do here in GDUI is to become the Poop police.

This year, we’re trying something a little different to help everyone and their dogs. Call us the Waste Warriors, the Poop Patrol, the Anti-Defecation Squad. We are a group of dedicated people who are here to help.

We are excited that Scoop Masters will once again be providing its amazing clean-up services to maintain our relief areas and catch those embarrassing indoor accidents. Tim and his staff do a marvelous job. This year, the Waste Warriors have his back!

Do you need directions to the closest relief area? Did your dog just have an accident and you don’t have a bag? Would you like to learn to clean up but are too embarrassed to ask anyone? Ask us; tell us; Come join us!

What does it take to be a Waste Warrior? A willingness to help without judging,the ability to explain things like directions and clean up procedures and a good sense of humor will all help. the biggest asset though is wearing clothing with lots of pockets for those baggies and a big old bottle of hand sanitizer.

We are assured that the relief areas at the hotel are strategically placed and as I write this we are working on directions for relief areas at both major Dallas airports.

What else might you do as a Waste Warrior?

You might give up an early morning, 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. to stand at or just outside of one of the relief areas to greet people and offer assistance. Relief area ambassadors are also needed at the other busy times of day such as 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. and onward.

We can’t promise that we’ll have Waste Warriors available at all of those times but if we all pitch in and help, we can certainly try. If you feel comfortable cleaning up after your own dog and want to help others, just spend a few extra minutes around the relief areas. Ask people how things are going and if they need any help.

We will not clean up for people. If you are physically unable to clean up after your dog, please let us know and we will work with you to find ways to take care of things.

Waste Warriors aren’t just about the hard stuff either. We’re here for all kinds of support too. Do you have a new dog whose never been to a convention and flat out refuses to use the public canine toilets? Has your dog had an accident indoors? Is your dog sick or showing signs of stress–the kind that makes it hard to clean up? We may not have a quick cure but we can provide a listening ear and reassuring shoulder for you. Most of us have been there and know the embarrassment, frustration and anxiety that can surround relieving your dog at conventions.

Would you like to be a Waste Warrior? Want to talk about how to help people at convention? Send me an email, jeninems@wowway.com or contact me once in Dallas. We want to keep the Waste Warriors a non-structured group who are ready to lend a hand and a baggie to anyone, any time.
*****
GDUI Representatives Attend Transportation Security Administration Conference in Los Angeles
by Robert Acosta

Let me begin this article by presenting you with a very important phone number to call if you have any concerns regarding airline travel. This number is (855) 787-2227. This is the number for TSA Cares.

Ken Metz and I were truly honored to be asked by President Penny Reeder to attend a TSA outreach conference at the Los Angeles International Airport on Friday May 1.

Numerous representatives of disability organizations were also in attendance. Bear in mind that TSA only deals with the screening process as we go through security at airports.
Calling TSA Cares which was the number I gave above can solve many problems.
If you need assistance from a Passenger Support Specialist, you must call at least 72 hours prior to your flight. This support specialist will escort you to the gate. You can also request the standard meet and assistance by calling the number above.

It is possible to get on the pre-check list by calling TSA Cares. The Pre-check list allows your departure or arrival to be expedited.

Filing complaints can also begin by calling this number. If you have a complaint, please file it right after the incident so that a proper investigation of the unfortunate situation can readily occur.

Those of us who were blind urged the TSA representatives to advise their screeners not to take our braille Notetakers apart and also not to try to take our guide dogs away to be searched.

Unfortunately, their brochures and such were not produced in braille. Again, I would call TSA Cares to try to get my hands on braille materials.

I was frankly surprised to learn that TSA claims it gets few complaints when too often, the screening process is a favorite subject at parties.

TSA will be holding outreach conferences at airports throughout the United States. Guide Dog Users, Inc., must be ever vigilant and try to have representatives cover these conferences.
*****
Legislative Committee Update
Service Animals in health Care Facilities
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) follows the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the use of service animals in hospital settings. An excerpt of these guidelines is provided Below. (Please note that the definition of a service animal mentioned in the guidelines is out of date. In 2010, the DOJ revised its definition of a service animal to include dogs only, and in some instances, miniature horses).

3. Service Animals Although this section provides an overview about service animals in health-care settings, it cannot address every situation or question that may arise (see Appendix E – Information Resources). A service animal is any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. (1366, 1376) A service animal is not considered a pet but rather an animal trained to provide assistance to a person because of a disability. Title III of the “Americans with Disabilities Act” (ADA) of 1990 mandates that persons with disabilities accompanied by service animals be allowed access with their service animals into places of public accommodation, including restaurants, public transportation, schools, and health-care facilities. (1366, 1376) In health-care facilities, a person with a disability requiring a service animal may be an employee, a visitor, or a patient. An overview of the subject of service animals and their presence in health-care facilities has been published. (1366) No evidence suggests that animals pose a more significant risk of transmitting infection than people; therefore, service animals should not be excluded from such areas, unless an individual patient’s situation or a particular animal poses greater risk that cannot be mitigated through reasonable measures. If health-care personnel, visitors, and patients are permitted to enter care areas (e.g., inpatient rooms, some ICUs, and public areas) without taking additional precautions to prevent transmission of infectious agents (e.g., donning gloves, gowns, or masks), a clean, healthy, well behaved service animal should be allowed access with its handler. (1366) Similarly, if immunocompromised patients are able to receive visitors without using protective garments or equipment, an exclusion of service animals from this area would not be justified. (1366)
Because health-care facilities are covered by the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act, a person with a disability may be accompanied by a service animal within the facility unless the animal’s presence or behavior creates a fundamental alteration in the nature of a facility’s services in a particular area or a direct threat to other persons in a particular area. (1366) A “direct threat” is defined as a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be mitigated or eliminated by modifying policies, practices, or procedures. (1376) The determination that a service animal poses a direct threat in any particular healthcare setting must be based on an individualized assessment of the service animal, the patient, and the health-care situation. When evaluating risk in such situations, health-care personnel should consider the nature of the risk (including duration and severity); the probability that injury will occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate the risk (J. Wodatch, U.S. Department of Justice, 2000). The person with a disability should contribute to the risk-assessment process as part of a pre-procedure health-care provider/patient conference. Excluding a service animal from an OR or similar special care areas (e.g., burn units, some ICUs, PE units, and any other area containing equipment critical for life support) is appropriate if these areas are considered to have “restricted access” with regards to the general public. General infection control measures that dictate such limited access include:
a) the area is required to meet environmental criteria to minimize the risk of disease transmission;
b) strict attention to hand hygiene and absence of dermatologic conditions; and
c) barrier protective measures [e.g., using gloves, wearing gowns and masks] are indicated for persons in the affected space. No infection-control measures regarding the use of barrier precautions could be reasonably imposed on the service animal.
Excluding a service animal that becomes threatening because of a perceived danger to its handler during treatment also is appropriate; however, exclusion of such an animal must be based on the actual behavior of the particular animal, not on speculation about how the animal might behave.
Another issue regarding service animals is whether to permit persons with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals during all phases of their stay in
the health-care facility. Healthcare personnel should discuss all aspects of anticipatory care with the patient who uses a service animal. Health-care personnel may not exclude a service animal because health-care staff may be able to perform the same services that the service animal does (e.g., retrieving dropped items and guiding an otherwise ambulatory person to the restroom). Similarly, health-care personnel can not exclude service
animals because the health-care staff perceive a lack of need for the service animal during the person’s stay in the health-care facility. A person with a disability is entitled to independent access (i.e., to be accompanied by a service animal unless the animal poses a direct threat or a fundamental alteration in the nature of services); “need” for the animal is not a valid factor in either analysis. For some forms of care (e.g., ambulation as physical therapy following total hip replacement or knee replacement), the service animal should not be used in place of a credentialed health-care worker who directly provides therapy. However, service animals need not be restricted from being in the presence of its handler during this time; in addition, rehabilitation and discharge planning should incorporate the patient’s future use of the animal. The health-care personnel and the patient with a disability should discuss both the possible need for the service animal to be separated from its handler for a period of time during nonemergency care and an alternate plan of care for the service animal in the event the patient is unable or unwilling to provide that care. This plan might include family members taking the animal out of the facility several times a day for exercise and elimination, the animal staying with relatives, or boarding off-site. Care of the service animal, however, remains the obligation of the person with the disability, not the health-care staff.
Although animals potentially carry zoonotic pathogens transmissible to man, the risk is minimal with a healthy, clean, vaccinated, well-behaved, and well-trained service animal, the most common of which are dogs and cats. No reports have been published regarding infectious disease that affects humans originating in service dogs. Standard cleaning procedures are sufficient following occupation of an area by a service animal. (1366) Clean-up of spills of animal urine, feces, or other body substances can be accomplished with blood/body substance procedures outlined in the Environmental Services section of this guideline. No special bathing procedures are required prior to a service animal accompanying its handler into a health-care facility.
Providing access to exotic animals (e.g., reptiles and non-human primates) that are used as service animals is problematic. Concerns about these animals are discussed in two published reviews. (1331, 1366) Because some of these animals exhibit high-risk behaviors that may increase the potential for zoonotic disease transmission (e.g., herpes B infection), providing health-care facility access to nonhuman primates used as service animals is discouraged, especially if these animals might come into contact with the general public. (1361, 1362)
Health-care administrators should consult the Americans with Disabilities Act for guidance when developing policies about service animals in their facilities. (1366) Requiring documentation for access of a service animal to an area generally accessible to the public would impose a burden on a person with a disability. When health-care workers are not certain that an animal is a service animal, they may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability; however, no certification or other documentation of service animal status can be required. (1377)
*****
Thank You!
by Audrey Gunter
The silence now enveloping the hotel is almost deafening. The somberness of the lobby is more like that of a funeral home than that of the laughter-filled, dog-jammed, crowded hotel where fun-loving folks of all ages and their helpful furry guides gathered with joy and enthusiasm.

The staff stands there teary-eyed, fondly remembering the group they’d come to know so well in such a short amount of time. The housekeeping staff has already begun to vacuum the mounds of dog hair and crumbs unknowingly left there by their two- and four-legged guests.

Top Dog-Charleston is now history–a memory–but what a memory it was!

Some arrived as early as seven days prior to our opening ceremonies to escape from the bone-chilling temperatures of their home states and, of course to live, taste, hear, touch and breathe Charleston. Most planned to take advantage of our great prices and better climates by extending their stays for at least three additional days.

They came from everywhere–California, Washington, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Massachusetts, and many other states. Total strangers when they arrived became close forever friends when they departed. Folks who had experienced valid differences of opinions in the past put those issues aside and were soon hugging each other in the hallways!

Some would say the catalyst was the charm and spirit of our “Holy City” but I believe it was simply God continuing to offer His blessings to us, through us and among us.

The journey began almost two years prior with a handful of Dixie Landers and a limitless number of ideas.

They worked together to find just the right venue–the right programs–the right caterer and the right entertainment.

GDUI had been badly fractured and no one knew whether anyone would even attend Top Dog, but they continued on with their search, solely depending on God’s divine guidance. They’d learned long ago that God is, indeed a gentleman. If invited, He’ll always attend and bring His bountiful blessings. If left out, He stands silently by as a spectator, and reserves those many blessings.

They remained faithful and obedient, inviting any and everyone who wanted to attend. No one was omitted.

Their objective was to make everyone feel wanted, welcomed, and loved and they began with their initial invitation.

At first a few began to respond; then more and then, even more. Soon, within two months, over 50 had been registered.

Friday morning’s events started with Dixie Land’s very own Brianna Murray and Kimberly Taylor presenting our “Paws 4 Technology”.

Soon Janet Ingber joined in to bring everyone up to date on the use of the IPhone and IPad.

Before the Opening Ceremonies began on Friday night, 154 people had registered-94 blind, 81 with guide dogs; 19 vendors; 9 guide dog schools; umpteen puppy raisers and dozens of loving, supportive friends and/or spouses.

That meeting room was crowded more than ever. People were elbow to elbow and furries tail to snout!

The mumbling roar became silent as Laurel Jean and Audrey offered their official welcome! Pastor Ed Grant officially started our event with a heartfelt prayer of invocation.

When Laurel Jean began to sing that song “The Blessing of Your Love,” written specifically to speak of the love between handler and guide, loving tears began to flow.

Bob Acosta then read a brief history of our flag and the brave veterans from the American Legion, troop 179 proudly marched in to present the colors.

Debbie Grubb then stood to draw a correlation between the various Bugle Calls and the many stages of life for a guide dog team.

Our national GDUI president, Penny Reeder rose to update us all on the latest development of that organization we knew and loved.

Over 10 people and/or organizations were recognized for their generosity and support before a brief intermission was called and our delicious Frogmore Stew was served! Soon lips were smacking and folks were laughing as they attacked the mountains of fried chicken and shrimp on their plates.

Because our guests had completely occupied all of the rooms at the Comfort Inn and Suites, West Ashley, we were given a little more latitude so we grabbed the tables and chairs from the breakfast area and converted the entire lobby into a swanky restaurant.

When all had eaten as much as they could and their dogs relieved, they retired to their rooms for a much-needed rest in order to prepare for the next day.

Saturday began with Pastors Bonnie Miller and Deb Trevino officiating at our Christian ceremony, “The Blessing”. They each offered a prayer prior to Laurel Jean’s tribute to those guides that had retired recently.

Afterwards, Laurel initiated a special audible candle lighting salute to those guides that had crossed “Rainbow Bridge.” As she called the name of each of our heroes, a lone chime would ring to honor their memories.

A prayer station with two empty, upside down harnesses and an upside down food bowl was prepared for folks to visit and remember.

The ministers assigned at that station were so moved by those who visited that prayer station that they, themselves needed consoling. They’d never experienced a love between human and animal like that illustrated before them that day.

Marshall and Michael from Sun Dog Cat Moon talked with us about emergency first aid supplies and the benefit of massage therapy for our guides.

Afterwards we heard from the many puppy raisers in attendance! I think as handlers, we were all surprised to find out that these heroes who have given us our angels actually admire and respect us as much as we admire and respect them!

Following the tears and cheers from and by our puppy raisers and guests, we all took a break to enjoy our scrumptious boxed lunches. Mind you, while all of this was taking place our exhibit hall was buzzing with visitors upstairs and our motorcyclists were rounding up their next victims…I mean riders.

After lunch, Penny Reeder brought us all up to date on GDUI–the hurdles and obstacles already conquered and those remaining to overcome.

Becky Barnes Davidson and Dr. Deni Elliott spoke about the various airports that offer relief areas within their security zones.

Next, they ramrodded us on that especially touchy topic of fake service dogs and how they affect legitimate handlers.

Both ladies offered an extremely informative, invaluable view into the problem and various diverse and even unpopular at times resolutions. Many guests shared personal insight regarding the issue. The discussion became heated at times, but that was simply because of the passion felt towards the subject.

Our last scheduled discussion, “Pup dates from the Guide Dog Schools” was quite informative and uplifting. Representatives from Fidelco, Freedom Dogs for the Blind, Gallant Heart, Guide Dog Foundation, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Leader Dogs for the Blind, The Seeing Eye, and Southeastern Guide Dogs did a great job in bringing us up to date on their latest endeavors.

Following their remarks, school representatives met outside to erect and oversee a great obstacle course that only the brave and confident would embark upon.

There were many participants in the course, too–all with chests puffed out and “I knew we could” smiles on their faces.

Saturday evening ended with another lip-smacking, tongue-titillating lowcountry cuisine straight from Jaimie’s smoking barbecue pots! Yum! Yum! I can still taste that good ol’ slap-your-mama-good chicken and pork, perfectly seasoned and lovingly prepared!

Our event closed with the hand-clapping, finger-snapping, foot-tapping music of Ann Caldwell and the Magnolia Singers melodically transporting us through history to a much different, simpler–yet not-so-much nicer time. Everyone there enjoyed her “Gullah-Geechie” from another era and culture.

Sunday morning began early with folks leaving for their red-eye flights back home. The majority of our guests were checked out and gone by noon, leaving just a handful to reminisce about Top Dog-Charleston and plan for Top Dog-Orlando!

Recently we heard from at least one guide dog school that they had received at least six applications from first time handlers. One of those said that Top Dog-Charleston was a “life changing” experience for him. He’d learned that he was not alone and there were many others who had already walked down that path he was on.

By all accounts, our event was extremely successful, thanks to everyone in attendance and, especially to God!

We’d also like to offer a special note of thanks to all of our many wonderful volunteers and the management and staff of the Comfort Inn and Suites, West Ashley. They went way out of their way to accommodate each of us, but there were two ladies in particular who sacrificed their day off to return just to assist us with our breakfasts! Thank you, Miss Angela and Miss Cynthia!

So, Top Dog-Charleston is now history, and we all look forward to hearing more from Debbie and Kathleen as Guide Dog Users of Florida begin to plan and prepare for Top Dog-Orlando in 2017! See you all there!
*****
Fundraising Committee Update
The fundraising committee has been very active throughout the month of May. At the top of our agenda is our efforts to have a successful summer drawing on behalf of Guide Dog Users, Inc. At present, we are fast approaching $2,000 in donations for this Drawing. The winners will be announced at the Luncheon of our National Convention to be held on Wednesday, July 8, in Dallas, Texas. The final collection of drawing donations will conclude on Tuesday, July 7, at 5 p.m. central time.

Our prizes are as follows:
1. $1,000 in cash donated by Helping Hands for the Blind
2. A $500 gift certificate donated by Helping Hands for the Blind
3. A $500 Silpada Jewelry gift card
4. A Keurig coffee maker
5. A George Foreman grill with removable plates donated by Robert Acosta
6. A Skywave Radio donated by the C. Crane Company
7. A lovely chiming clock, which plays 12 songs, donated by Speak to Me, Denise Russell, (800) 248-9965, Extension 104
8. A Bose Wave Radio donated by Robert Acosta
9. A Gift Basket containing beachwear and a $500 gift certificate for a cruise to be taken within one year donated by Travel One

The tickets are $10 per chance and donors can call Jane Sheehan, our office manager at (866) 799-8436. Winners need not be present.

Our Committee is also investigating the possibility of holding a Spring 2016 Radio Auction, using the facilities of ACB Radio. In our investigation, we have learned that ACB Radio will charge our affiliate $100 to use one of the stations for such an auction. Prizes will come hopefully from our affiliates, members and friends. We thank Marlaina Lieberg and Larry Turnbull for their guidance in this venture. When we have gathered all of the necessary facts involved with such an auction, we shall present this to the board of directors for its advice and hopefully its approval.

Another important matter on the agenda of the fundraising committee is to gather sponsors for our 2016 GDUI National Convention. Again, we are gathering the facts in order to present a complete report to the board of directors for its advice and hopefully its approval.

The chair of the fundraising committee is very honored to be invited to speak to affiliate presidents and other leaders on Thursday, May 21.

Finally, may I conclude this Report by thanking the members of the board of directors for all of your assistance to the fundraising committee. I would also like to thank our hard-working committee members on the fundraising committee for their great ideas and support.

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Acosta, chair
Fundraising committee, Guide Dog Users, Inc.
*****
A Positive Transition, Mostly
By Annie Chiappetta
In a previous issue of PawTracks I wrote about my retired guide, Verona. At the time, she was on a light work schedule and ready to hang up the harness. Once the new year passed, I let her work one more time while traveling to California. She did wonderfully, but I knew by the end of the trip that she was done. I am ashamed to admit this but the last few days we were in California she seemed tired; she stumbled a lot and acted confused about tasks that she had performed many times before the trip. I made her keep going, and now I feel guilty that I pressured her into it. I know, I shouldn’t beat myself up; after all, one might say that it would have been more upsetting for her if I just left for two weeks. She might have felt abandoned or even more confused. Thinking about it now, I don’t think I’d go back and change anything. Yet, there is that twinge when I remember how she stumbled, got confused in the airport bathroom, and kept making mistakes. I am still wondering if I asked too much of her at the time.

Moving on, I am glad to report Verona is now a very happy retired lady. She loves sleeping late, getting a few more snacks, and taking walks with my daughter and hanging out with my husband when he goes upstate for r & r.

My transition to the new guide is still a work in progress. I left for Guiding Eyes in March. I was in the action program for returning graduates–10 days in class and five days of follow-up in my home environment. Since I am a local graduate, it was even better because White Plains is where I work and I felt like I was getting home training instead.

Unfortunately, I contracted viral pneumonia and on March 17, I returned home without my new dog. Then, after recovering which meant losing an entire 10 days, I reunited with him. An instructor finished up with me, allowing me to take my time because I was still weak and my stamina was still compromised. I am now happy to report I am back at the gym, working on getting better. I now am matched up with a 70-pound yellow lab named Bailey. He is very goofy and a good guide, even if he loves air-scenting and watching the birds a little bit too often. He and Verona get along great and his place in this crazy, dog friendly home is settled. Even my rescue dog, Nikka, who has big dog fear, plays with him. I was shocked when my daughter told me she was play bowing and licking his face.

Now, if I could only figure out a way to keep all his blond hair off my clothes, it would be perfect.
*****
GDUI Board Meeting Minutes
March 28, 2015

In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President; Will Burley, First Vice President; Maria Hansen, Second Vice President; Sarah Calhoun, Secretary and Lynn Merrill, Treasurer.
Directors:
Bob Acosta, Vickie Curley, Dixie Sanderson and Jane Sheehan
Nolan Crabb, PawTracks Editor
Pat Hill, Guide Dog School Liaison
Pat Sheehan, ACB Liaison
Excused absence: Ann Chiappetta, Director; Betsy Grenevitch, Director and Debbie Grubb, Affiliate Liaison.
Unexcused absence: Laurie Mehta, Immediate Past President.

The meeting was opened by President Penny Reeder with welcoming remarks.

The roll call was taken by Sarah Calhoun, Secretary.

The board approved the meeting agenda.

Agenda item: Approval of minutes.
A motion was made by Sarah Calhoun to approve the January 24, 2015 GDUI Board meeting minutes. The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

A motion was made by Sarah Calhoun to approve the March 6, 2015 GDUI special board meeting minutes. The motion was seconded by Dixie Sanderson. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Approval of all board and committee reports.
A motion was made by Bob Acosta to approve the board and committee reports. They were submitted to the board prior to the meeting. The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

All board and committee reports are attached at the end of these minutes.

Agenda item: Grant Opportunities for GDUI.
A motion was made by Bob Acosta for GDUI to appropriate $1,000.00 to utilize the services of Joe Stagerwalt, who is a grant writer for ACB, to pursue up to five grants during the course of the next year. Each grant will be approved by the board. The Budget & Finance Committee along with the Fundraising Committee will work together to establish benchmarks for success and priorities.

The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by roll call, discussion took place. Motion unanimously passed.

Agenda item: Funding ads in ACB Convention newspaper.
The board recommends for all GDUI ads to be published in the ACB Convention newsletter, to be first reviewed by the Publications Committee. After review, the Publications Committee will send the ads to the Program Committee, who then will submit them to the ACB Convention press room for publication. The deadline for ad submission is June 1, 2015.

President Reeder will post to the board the various ad packages and cost made available by ACB.

Michael Malver will recruit members to help with Tweeting information during the convention.

Agenda item: New list addresses.
Will Burley explained how GDUI’s new voting system, Vote Now, will work for the upcoming election and proposed Bylaws.

After the record date of April 3, 2015, Jane Sheehan will Email the membership list to Will Burley. He will forward the list to Vote Now. Vote Now will Email all members their new identification number and instructions on how to vote either by telephone or on the web site. Members who don’t use a computer will receive a letter from Vote Now with their new identification number and voting instructions.

The final draft of the proposed Bylaws and candidate information will be emailed to Will Burley; he then will forward to Vote Now for them to be set up for our voting event. All voting information will be reviewed and tested prior to the commencement of voting.

Agenda item: Outline of voting information regarding Record Date, Dates of Forums and Voting Procedures, by Sarah Calhoun.

April 3, 2015 is the established record date. On April 4th, Jane Sheehan will Email Will Burley the membership list and Maria Hansen the total number of members. Maria will complete the cover letter and send it to Jane Sheehan. Jane will make copies of the cover letter, proposed Bylaws and candidate information to mail via USPS to all members who don’t use a computer. On April 9th or 10th, Jane will Email the same information to members who use a computer. All members are to be notified by April 10, 2015.

The voting will begin on Saturday, May 30, 2015 beginning at 12:00 a.m. EDT, and will close on Sunday, June 7, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

A motion was made by Sarah Calhoun to hold the two Bylaws and candidate forums on Saturday, April 25, 2015 beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT. The second forum will be held on Friday, May 8, 2015 beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

The motion was seconded by Lynn Merrill. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Prior to the beginning of the voting process, a recording of the proposed Bylaws and candidate information will be made available for members to access via telephone, Drop Box and Send Space.

The board discussed the secretary needing to certify the voting results.
Maria Hansen explained, our current constitution doesn’t mention anything about certifying the voting results. In the DC Code it looks like our voting company, Vote Now, can certify the results.

Agenda item: Old business.
Jane Sheehan asked if our web master has received her request to fix a few fields on the membership list and a spelling error. Will Burley said he has received her message and the problems will be addressed.

School survey update:
Dixie Sanderson sent 19 guide dog school surveys and has received back eight completed surveys. She will contact the remaining schools to encourage them to complete the survey and send it in to GDUI.

Agenda item: President Reeder explained the current situation between California state board of guide dog for the Blind and The Seeing Eye.

GDUI, along with Guide Dog Users of California and National Guide Dog Users of California will write a letter supporting the actions taken by The Seeing Eye against the California State Board of Guide Dog for the Blind.

Meeting Adjourn.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary

Attachment:
The board and committee reports are listed in alphabetical order and separated with asterisks.

****
Advocacy Committee Report
Becky Barnes Davidson, Chair

We are pleased to have merged the advocacy and legislative committee pages on the GDUI web site.
This provides a convenient and easy-to-use resource for all. Thanks to Will Burley for the help!

Though we dodged a bullet in Arizona with that bill denying access, we have another bill in Maine that directly affects our rights in housing. Thanks to President Penny Reeder for her strong testimony against this bill. The Advocacy committee stands strong and ready to assist in any way we can.

Speaking of housing, a call came to me from a man who lives in a large co-op complex in Queens, New York. The complex management has instituted a $50.00 per year fee for all service dogs supposedly to assist with the cost of extra cleaning required because of the presence of the dogs. The complex has something like 23 large apartment buildings and there are only 18 service dogs in residence which represents less than 1 percent of the population of the complex. We are working on that with the DOJ housing division and also New York City. To Date I have not received a final outcome. Co-ops seem to think they are above the law. I know because I live in a co-op complex, which is, fortunately, much smaller.

We still hear occasional reports of Uber drivers refusing rides to people with guide dogs. Supposedly Uber has a no-tolerance policy on refusal of rides to people with service dogs.

The process of determining rights of access to Bed-and-breakfast establishments, particularly as it applies to AirBandB, is ongoing.

We continue to monitor activity on the misrepresentation of service dog’s issue. There was excellent discussion of this issue at the Top Dog conference in January and it is important that constructive discussion continue as we work toward solutions that can solve the problems without negatively affecting our civil rights as guide dog handlers.

I just discovered a new IPHONE app this morning called icitizen. It will tell you who your state and federal representatives are as well as provide information on issues, voting records, etc. I am still playing with it but it may turn out to be quite useful for both advocacy and legislative work. Of course the possibility exists that I’m late to the game and others have already been using this app, but it, along with the NAGDU app with all the state and federal laws on it are great tools.

Respectfully submitted,
Becky Barnes-Davidson
March 24, 2015.

****
Affiliates Liaison Report

Greetings all.

The GDUI Affiliates continue to build a sense of community and collaboration. Over the next several months our work together will stress fund raising, meaningful work with state legislatures and membership growth and retention. Our meetings will have guest presenters with expertise in all of these essential areas.

Because of a small personal emergency at my house, the affiliates did not meet during our regularly scheduled time in March. I decided not to hold the meeting at that time as I did not have the time to carry out proper preparation. I always want affiliate leaders to come away from our meetings feeling that they have both learned and contributed and that the meetings have been worth their while. After polling the affiliate leaders, the decision of the majority will be honored which means that we will next hold a telephonic meeting during the third Thursday in May, our next regularly scheduled meeting time.

As the Convention draws closer, I will be gathering information from each affiliate regarding whether or not they will have representation at the event and who will be taking on that role.

I am gratified to report that we are walking a sure and true path together.

Respectfully submitted,
Debbie Grubb
GDUI Affiliate Liaison

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Budget & Finance Committee
Committee members: Penny, Will, Maria, Sarah, Lynn and Jane

Under Sarah’s guidance, our budget was prepared, presented to and approved by the Board.
Maria
Chair, Budget & Finance Committee

****
Constitution & Bylaws Committee

Committee members: John McCann, Lynn Merrill, Ellen Telker, Rick Roderick, Penny Reeder

The Constitution and Bylaws Committee submitted the draft Bylaws to the Board for review and now the membership has an opportunity to comment via the Bylaws list.
We have worked hard to create a document that complies with and meets the requirements of the DC Nonprofit Code while also addressing concerns that the membership had with the documents that were presented last year. To that end, these Bylaws retain the Affiliates Liaison, the Guide Dog School Liaison and Editor of our publications as Board positions, Keep the Director seats at six, reduce obstacles to member participation, do not focus on expelling members, acknowledge our relationship with ACB and our affiliates and refer to Roberts Rules of Order.
In cooperation with the Nominating Committee, we will hold a joint election to vote on the proposed Bylaws as well as the two Board positions. Sarah and I have set a record date of April 3 and the election will be held from May 30 through June 7.
Respectfully,
Maria Hansen
Chair, Constitution and Bylaws Committee

****
Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program Report
March 2015

Committee members: Bob Acosta; Ann Chiappetta; Sarah Calhoun, chair; Lynn Merrill; Ken Metz & Dixie Sanderson.
Guest: Landa Phelan

The Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program (DAPP) Committee met in February 2015 via telephone conference. We were honored to have Landa Phelan from Hawaii as our guest speaker.

Landa will be giving a presentation during the GDUI events at the ACB 2015 Convention explaining how to prepare for an emergency for you and your guide dog. Landa is quite educated and experienced in teaching others how to prepare and build your own survival kit to be ready for an unfortunate catastrophe.

If you have the opportunity to meet Landa during the convention, be sure to say, “Aloha!”

Posted on the GDUI web site, the DAPP team has compiled emergency information and documents you can print and complete to give you and your guide dog a better opportunity to survive an unfortunate event. There are suggestions and tips on helping you assemble a survival kit for you and your guide dog.

The DAPP team continues to work on compiling a list of areas you can organize prior to an emergency such as: locating the nearest shelter, medical hospitals or facilities address and phone numbers, contact information of family and friends, along with many other helpful tips. This list will be available on the GDUI web site.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, chair

****
Editor’s report – PawTracks

The spring PawTracks issue should be available to the GDUI office by April 4. The summer issue deadline is May 15, and that will be really firm unless contributors have a super-compelling reason for being later.

Nolan

****
Fund-Raising Committee Report
March 28, 2015

Dear Colleagues:
Before I present our report on the numerous activities of the GDUI Fund-Raising Committee, I must tell you how disappointed we all are with the cancellation of our December Cruise by Dave Kronk. Yes, the bookings were not moving along very well with only three cabins reserved, but we had great future plans for publicity on this cruise which would have brought in needed funds to GDUI and would have been an opportunity for those attendees to have a wonderful time in the Caribbean. Rest assured that we will be making plans for another cruise with a different Travel Agency.

On March 12, I represented the Fund-Raising Committee at a meeting with the ACB Grant Writer, Jo Steigerwald. Also present at the meeting were Maria Hansen, Lynn Merrill and Ken Metz. We presented our wish list to Jo. At present, she is researching those Foundations which she feels will be of assistance to us. She has also sent us some tips for seeking grants. Under an agreement between Jo and the ACB, she will provide some free time to do some research on foundations for us.

Our Wish List is as follows:
1. A grant for the underwriting of telephonic and online voting for our membership

2. A grant to purchase needed software to assist our Finance Committee with the management of our funds

3. A grant to bring first timers to the GDUI National Conventions

I personally added a fourth item:
4. A grant to underwrite our National GDUI Conventions

We shall discuss grants and the direction we wish to take at our Board meeting. We shall take this one step at a time.

The Fund-Raising Committee is currently exploring the possibility of holding an auction using ACB Radio early next year. We are currently gathering the needed facts to present to the Board. I can state that Larry Turnbull and Marlaina Lieberg have been very helpful. Marlaina wrote to tell me that such an auction can be handled by ACB Radio using the World Events Station. The cost for this is only $100.

We also have been exploring the possibility of using a Mailing Company to distribute our donor letters. At present, we find their charges too expensive, but we shall keep looking for a company.

Finally, the Summer Drawing is moving along nicely. We are nearing the $1,200 figure. The winners will be announced at the luncheon of the GDUI Convention on July 8, 2015. Friends and members of GDUI can feel free to call Jane Sheehan at (Home) (301) 598-2131 if you have unlimited long distance and our toll-free number is (866) 799-8436. For the purchase of a $10 ticket, you can win $1,000 and other fine prizes.

In conclusion, I wish to state on behalf of our committee that this business of raising funds does have its bumps and bruises. However, we are undaunted in our efforts to raise the needed funds for GDUI in order to assure that our wonderful members can rely on GDUI to help them live a quality life.

Respectfully Submitted by,
Robert Acosta, Chair
Fund-Raising Committee

****
Guide Dog School Liaison Survey Update

The 2015 GDUI Guide Dog School Survey was compiled and sent to the following schools:

Custom Canines Service Dog Academy
Eye of the Pacific Guide Dogs and Mobility Services, Incorporated
Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation
Freedom Guide Dogs
Gallant Hearts Guide Dog Center
Guide Dogs for the Blind
Guide Dogs of America
Guide Dogs of Texas, Incorporated
Guide Dogs of the Desert
Guiding Eyes for the Blind
Independence Guide Dogs
Kansas Specialty Dog Service, Incorporated
Leader Dogs for the Blind
Mira Foundation USA
Pilot Dogs
Southeastern Guide Dogs
The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Incorporated
The OccuPaws Guide Dog Association
The Seeing Eye, Incorporated

Of the 19 schools asked to participate in the survey, I have received back 7 completed surveys as well as notification from one school choosing not to participate.

The completed surveys have been forwarded to be uploaded onto the Guide Dog Users Inc. web page.

I have been following up with the schools I have yet to hear from and hope to soon have heard from the remaining schools.

Respectfully submitted,
Dixie Sanderson

****
Legislative Committee Report, March 2015

Task 1. Prepare web pages for the legislative portion of the new GDUI web site
Update: final draft completed, approved and posted on GDUI web site at:

Advocacy Resources

Task 2. Research, track and review service animal state legislation
Update: Upon request by our Maine affiliate, provided testimony in opposition of two bills in the Maine State legislature regarding housing requirements and a state certification program for service animals; and consulted with our Arizona affiliate regarding a bill to require service animal registration and exclusion of all service animals in food service establishments.

Task 3. Quarterly submission for PawTracks.
Update: Identified and submitted an educational publication regarding service animals in the work place.

Task 4. Work with ACB national office to draft suggested legislation that penalizes pet owners who misrepresent their pets as service animals.
Update: The final draft is nearly complete and almost ready for board approval.

Ginger Kutsch, Chair
Legislative Committee

****
Membership Committee Report
March 24, 2015

We were not able to have a meeting this month, March, due to the unavailability of members so these notes are from our February meeting and updates I have received since then. We will meet again on the second Thursday in April, April 9 at 7:00 PM EST.

Betsy is working on the project of contacting potential vendors to give discounts to our members. She is concentrating on pet insurance companies at this time.

Most, if not all life members of GDUI have been contacted via phone or email. We have not heard back from everyone but the attempt was made. I would like to thank those on the committee who volunteered their time to make this possible: Alex, Pam, Jane, and Mary Beth Metzger. The members really enjoyed being contacted.

I understand there is controversy over this issue but would like to discuss it at a future board meeting concerning giving our life members a small token of “thank you” for becoming life members. I will ask for this to be put on an agenda once I have a price for a potential gift.

A project that we will be working on is the possibility of developing a program for assisting current guide dogs with medical bills due to large expenses because of an illness of the guide dog. I will give more information about this project as soon as more details are developed.

Submitted by,
Membership Chair
Betsy Grenevitch

****
Nominating Committee Report, March 2015

Committee members: Sarah Calhoun, chair; Margie Donovan; Betsy Grenevitch & Jane Sheehan.

The committee met in February 2015 to discuss the director application form and the process in accepting each application. A deadline was established for all applications to be submitted to the committee.

Several invitations were Emailed to members via the announce, chat and leadership lists, along with being published in Paw Tracks welcoming members to submit a director application to become a candidate in the upcoming 2015 elections.

The Nominating Committee is excited to announce the following candidates!
Vickie Curley of New Jersey, Ken Metz of California & Dixie Sanderson of Connecticut!

The committee thanks each candidate and appreciates them for volunteering to run for a position on the GDUI board! Good-Luck!

The two director positions will be available in July 2015, each have a three year term and will expire in July of 2018.

The Nominating Committee along with the Constitution & Bylaws Committee will be holding two combined Bylaws & Candidate Forums. The first segment of the forums will be discussion of the proposed Bylaws. The second segment will be the candidate forum. During both segments, members will have the opportunity to ask questions and make comments.

The date and times for the combined Bylaws & Candidate forums will be on Saturday, April 25, 2015 beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. The second forum will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2015 beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. Reminders will be sent out for both forums which will include the date, time, telephone number and access code.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, chair
Nominating Committee

****
Office Manager & Products Report

Things have been busy here in the GDUI national office. Lots of product flying out the door, both through the website shopping cart and PayPal and through phone credit card orders.

After much struggle and tribulation, I mastered ACB’s data base system and certified all the 463 people who were members of GDUI as of March 16, 2015. That will give us 19 votes at the ACB convention. I encourage anyone who’s not a current member of GDUI to still join in order to be eligible to vote in our May election for board positions and the new Bylaws. We don’t yet know what date will be selected as the record date, so best join now to make sure you’re counted as eligible to vote in the May election.
Jane Sheehan

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Programs Report as of 3-25-15

The GDUI convention will once again be held in conjunction with the American Council of the Blind’s annual Conference and Convention. The 2015 annual ACB convention will be held at the Sheraton Dallas, located at 400 N. Olive St. in downtown Dallas. All GDUI convention meetings (with the exception of Sunday preliminary get-togethers, hotel orientations, and Helping you and Your Guide Dog Adjust to Convention Session) will be held each week-day after ACB general sessions have concluded, Monday, July 6 through Wednesday, July 8 In addition, GDUI will host Breakfast Club events each morning of convention, beginning on Monday, July 6, and ending on Wednesday, July 8. More details will be made available as we finalize events and hear back from our invited speakers.

• GDUI Pre-Registration Form is complete and will be submitted for review.
• Recruiting donors for GDUI’s Silent Auction is ongoing and growing.
• Auction committee is diligently researching and testing different options on how to best include offsite auction attendees.
• The Program Committee continues to work with the Public Relations (PR) committee to work on an introductory release about our 2015 GDUI Dallas Convention.
•We continue to advertise the GDUI conference and convention in Paw Tracks, GDUI weekly Announcements and in upcoming Braille form.
• GDUI Guide Dog School Liaison continues to communicate with the Guide Dog Schools.
In collaborating with the “Guide Dog Trainers,” there will be two days of hotel orientation: Sunday, July 5, 2015 & Monday July 6, 2015.
• GDUI liaison is working with ACB on the relief area, both at the hotel and airport.
• The volunteer coordinator is outreaching prospective recruits for our conference via letters to Delta Gammas.
Recruiting member for GDUI’s Ambassadors Club
• The “Appreciation Reception” for Trainers and Staff, to be held on Monday July 6th at 7 pm, is currently being organized (more to be announced at a later date).
• We have reached out to local vet techs to provide their nail trimming and ear cleaning. Their schedule in the suite will be announced later.
• Becky Barnes – Davis of the “Awards Committee” will be handling the awards.

The following link will provide more in-depth information about the convention: http://guidedogusersinc.org/gdui-2015-convention/

Again, I would like to thank the Programs Committee members who have assisted me in working on all of the above. I am very grateful for the expertise and time devoted for this upcoming GDUI Convention.

Sincerely,

Lilian Scaife, Program Committee Chair

****
Publications Committee Report March 2015

Spring greetings, all. This past quarter has been quiet for this committee. We have been working and supporting the other GDUI committees with various assignments.

Our Facebook and Twitter feeds are going well, however, we would like to achieve more followers. We think this will trend upwards as we get closer to the National convention in Dallas.

The Chat list and leadership list are going well, thanks to our moderators.
The document revision project is on hold until Annie and her new dog settle in; plans for another call is forthcoming. The handbook is also still under revisions and ¾ completed.

We would also like to acknowledge the effort of the bylaws committee, great work with a very top heavy and jargon-rich document. As always, we are ready to assist with proofing and writing GDUI documents, whatever the need.
The last few months the website has posted a number of relevant pages for the DAPP and the Legislative committees respectively, so please let us know what you think by visiting and reading them. Feedback is key to improving our brand.
Respectfully submitted by, Annie Chiappetta, Publications Co-chair, GDUI

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Special Concerns Committee Report

Hello GDUI members and friends. It is wonderful to have finely made it to spring. Let’s hope that the spring like weather will not be too far behind.

Our Empathizer team still stands ready to provide a listening ear to anyone who might need to talk with another dog guide handler about what ever might be going on in his or her life. As a dog guide handler. Our team will continue to remind our members and friends of their presents and their willingness to be available whenever someone needs to talk.

Now that our Empathizer team is in place, I am thinking of another project that I would like to start working on. I would like to put together a group of dog handlers from as many of the schools as possible to be able to provide an objective sounding board for anyone who might want to not only avail themselves of the fantastic recently updated dog guide school Survey, but also to be able to actually speak with someone to answer in a more personal way any questions a
Person may have about any given school. I would like to work with our guide dog school liaison along with a committee of around 3 to 4 members to work on the details of how to set this up correctly. This project will take a considerable amount of time to put together as there will be several steps that will need to be taken before we would be able to present this idea to the board. As of now, it is just a series of thoughts and ideas rolling around inside my head.

As of late, my family and I have been through a rather difficult time. We are slowly working ourselves back to some kind of normalcy, whatever that might be. Soon, I would like to talk with our Guide dog school liaison so as to come up with a consensus as to the best way to set this up. Then I would like to look for a few good dog guide handlers to start working on an Application for those who may serve on this panel. This project will take time, but I feel that it will be
Well worth it in the long run. There will be more to come regarding this project.

Please remember that our Empathizer team is ready and willing to chat with you at just about any time. If anyone should need a list of Empathizer team members, either contact me or Jane for names or contact information. I believe that this information can be found on the GDUI website. Thank you so very much.
Respectfully submitted, Vickie Curley

****
TREASURER’S REPORT
January 1 through March 23, 2015

Beginning checking account balance as of January 1, 2015:
Capital One: $10,708.86
Carrollton Bank: $2,570.04
Total checking account balance as of January 1, 2015: $13,278.90
First Georgetown $117,007.00

Fund-Raising Income: $2,535.00 as follows:
Silpada jewelry sales: $550.00
Donation, unspecified: $825.00
Donation, un specified, ACB/MMS: $120.00
2015 summer drawing: $1,040.00

Legislative Expense: $196.00, as follows:
Travel: $196.00

Membership income: $2,907.00, as follows:
2015 dues: $990.00
2015 dues, from affiliates: $1,267.00
Life membership dues: $650.00

Membership expenses: $2,185.00, as follows:
Per capita to ACB: $2,185.00

National Office Expenses: $417.04, as follows:
Telephone: $87.04
Credit card processing fees: $311.80
PayPal processing fees: $18.20

Product income: $1,804.00, as follows:
Product sales: $1,684.00
Product shipping: $120.00

Product expenses: $423.94, as follows:
Product mailing and handling: $209.14
Product purchase: $214.80

Publications expenses: $205.75, as follows:
Production, 2014 PawTracks (winter): $200.00
Mailing: $5.75

Ending checking account balance as of March 23, 2015:
Capital One Bank: $11,556.47
Carrollton Bank: $5,549.70
Total checking account balance as of March 23, 2015: $17,106.17
Total Account Balance First Georgetown as of March 25, 2015 $117,007.00

Respectfully,
Lynn Merrill, Treasurer

****
Website Committee Report – March 2015

The Website is coming along well. Due to the work of the various GDUI committees, content is being added on a consistent basis. In the past month the site has been updated with:

. A new convention page;
. The DAPP section on the Resources page;
. A new and improved Advocacy/Legislative page under the Resources
Section; and
. The weekly announcements on our blog.

We will be adding the guide dog school surveys on the Resources page as well as adding the Amazon Smiles link to the front page of the website.

The Committee and the webmaster did hours of testing on reported email issues and after having done troubleshooting with the web host provider and the plug-in creator, we have found the system has been working fine. All emails had been going to the correct email address.

We should thank our webmaster for really going above and beyond with this issue.

A challenge is presenting itself on the board list. Some messages are coming through up to a day after being sent. This is due to our having our web hosting plan on a shared server. At the time of the board’s discussion on whether to get shared hosting or a private server, no one realized how popular our Chat list was going to be.

On the shared plan, we are allotted 200 emails per day on the server. This includes emails to the board and chair inboxes as well as each message to the email lists. Our chat list contributes more to our email usage and we are not aware of issues with that list.
Will Burley

End of all reports.
*****
A Guide Dog Handler Salutes Fellow Advocates and An Airport Policeman
By Robert Acosta
Last Thanksgiving, my wife and I flew to Phoenix to celebrate the holiday with a couple of friends. When we arrived at the Phoenix airport from Burbank, Calif., we were met by a skycap with a wheelchair for my wife. We began walking to the baggage area but soon learned that he was also pushing a lady from Nebraska as well. Then he told us that he had to assist the nice lady to her gate and could we wait a few minutes.

Of course, we agreed to do so. Well, as you might imagine, the wait grew longer and longer. Then a kind policeman approached us to wait with us for the skycap. The skycap finally came back to tell us that he got to talking with people at the lady’s gate, but the police officer said that he would escort us to the baggage area himself.

Our friends were meeting us and the officer told them via his cell phone to park at the curb, and that if anyone gave them trouble, they should inform the officer at the curb that they had our escort’s permission to stay put.

We got our baggage, but the officer then showed me where the relief area was. It was just outside of the front door of the terminal. Angus was a happier dog after the visit. Then the officer assisted us to the waiting car and loaded our baggage.

Before he left, I asked him for the name and phone number of his supervisor as I wanted to commend the great work of the police here. I did call his sergeant and told him about the entire situation. He duly noted my commendation.

Why am I telling you this story? I want to also thank our great Arizona affiliate for the fine work it is doing in Arizona. My dog was well accepted by everyone at the airport, especially that fine police officer as they were thrilled to welcome him to Phoenix.

Too often, the police get bad publicity for their efforts to see that we live in a lawful society. As an old, retired school teacher I give the police force and our great Arizona affiliate an A plus.
*****
Contributors to This Issue
We wish to thank the following individuals for their contribution to this issue of Paw Tracks:

Robert Acosta
Sarah Calhoun
Ann Chiappetta
Audrey Gunter
Ginger Kutsch
Penny Reeder
Lilian Scaife
Jenine Stanley

Download link: Paw Tracks Summer 2015

PawTracks Spring 2015

PawTracks
Spring 2015
Volume XLII, No. 1
Editor: Nolan Crabb
Technical Assistant: Jane Sheehan
PawTracks is the quarterly magazine of Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI)
An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Visit GDUI Online at: www.guidedogusersinc.org
Toll-Free: (866) 799-8436

April 11, 2015
Table of Contents
President’s Message: A Morning Update On a Snowy Day by Penny Reeder
News Kibble From the Announcement Pouch compiled by Nolan Crabb
GDUI 2015 Convention News by Lilian Scaife, GDUI Convention Program Committee Chair
Nominating Committee News
Help GDUI Honor People Who Make a Positive Difference in the Lives of Guide Dog Handlers
2015 Candidate Information
Be Informed and Ready for the Summer Traveling Season by Ginger Kutsch, GDUI Legislative Committee Chair
Emergency Preparedness for You and Your Guide Dog
Gallantry in Action by Ann Chiappetta, GDUI Publications Committee Chair
Preaching to the Choir: Acting Beyond What Is Asked of Them by Rebecca Kragnes
The Seeing Eye On the Silver Screen Reprinted With Permission of the Seeing Eye
Service Animals and Allergies in the Workplace by Linda Carter Batiste, J.D. and Tracie Saab, M.S.
An Opportunity for You to Assist Guide Dog Users, Inc. by Robert Acosta, GDUI Fundraising Committee Chair
Top Dog Roundup: A Volunteer’s Perspective by Michelle Grenevitch and Danielle McIntyre
GDUI Treasurer’s Report January 1 Through March 23, 2015 by Lynn Merrill, GDUI Treasurer
GDUI Board Minutes compiled by Sarah Calhoun
Proposed Bylaws Draft for Submission to the Membership, April 6, 2015
Leader Dogs for the Blind Earns National Accreditation for O&M Service Offerings by Rachelle Kniffen, Director of Communications and Marketing

(Note that asterisks (*) separate each article and plus signs (+) separate sections within articles.
*****
President’s Message: A Morning Update on a Snowy Day
Penny Reeder
Good morning! It’s a lovely snowy morning from a Washington, DC suburb where Willow and I live and work and enjoy our family and friends. The sparkly, crunchy snow makes this a morning of promise! Certainly New Englanders, with so much snow they’ve run out of places to put it all, don’t agree with the wonder Willow and I are experiencing–but for us, on this first real snow day of the winter, there is the pleasure of turning off the alarm clock before it can awaken us with that jarring sound of obligation and burrowing back under the covers to catch a few more winks, with no need to rush to school or work or even yet to the snow shovels, and the promised sounds of happy laughter when sleds glide down snowy hills and toddlers learn to make angels in the snow.

By the time you read this message, thoughts of spring will be on your minds and the precautions of winter may gradually be becoming a memory. GDUI has experienced a good and productive winter. Our membership rolls have continued to grow, and our committees have been working hard. Our developing policy with respect to misrepresentation of pets as service animals has garnered some publicity and much approval within the community of people with disabilities, and soon our affiliates will be working to translate our policy statement into legislation which, all of us hope, will decrease the many incidences of these assaults on our civil rights. More and more of our members have expressed an interest in helping out with the work of GDUI, with advocacy, with updating our publications, and improving our web site, and offering empathetic advice, and working to amend our bylaws to simplify the language while preserving our way of governance and assuring conformance with the not-for-profit code. Our chat list has been busy, our empathizers continue to provide listening ears and to offer reassurances and advice. Our budget and finance committee continues to husband our resources while honoring our mission, and enthusiastic fund-raisers offer a variety of opportunities to support the work that is so important to us all. And, GDUI continues to anticipate a promising future of supporting our members and serving our shared community.

Around a hundred and fifty of us — and 93 dogs — attended the fantastic Top Dog conference which our Dixieland, Florida, and Georgia affiliates put together for us. What a wonderful week end! There were informative programs — including a panel on misrepresentation of pets as service dogs, an update from eight of the nine schools who were present, reassurance from a vet tech who told us not to panic if our dogs ate a chocolate chip or an Oreo cookie as he explained the dangers of a chocolate — or a grape — or a raisin — overdose and offered advice on ways to handle those inevitable doggie-related emergencies that occur at home. There was beautiful, inspiring music from Laurel Jean and others. Puppy raisers shared stories some of which brought tears to our eyes and others of which made us laugh as we identified — too well — with the challenges of coping with canine curiosity and willpower. There were awards — GDUI thanks you for ours! There were kind blessings and fantastic Gullah/Geechee gospel music. Charleston outdid its already amazing reputation for deliciousness with Frogmore Stew and incredible fried chicken! And, best of all were the friendship and the camaraderie, and the hugs! Thank you Audrey Gunter, and everyone associated with Top Dog. You all know how to put on a truly top-of-the-mark conference!

Spring brings discussions of those amended bylaws, online via e-mail and in other venues, and elections in May, where we will ask you to approve or reject the 11 bylaws, one at a time, and via a new election system which will guarantee even more universal access to the process of voting, via the internet or the telephone depending on your preferences. Universal voting is an aspect of GDUI’s democracy that makes us proud. It is also expensive. WE pay for every member who is eligible to vote, so please honor our faith in you and our belief in real democracy by participating in the voting in May. Two directorships will be up for election as well as the 11 bylaws. We will send out notices, and they will include detailed explanations and instructions for voting via the updated system. We will make online avenues for discussion available, and hold candidates’ forums as always. All we ask of you is your participation!

I will wrap up this president’s message now and let you get on to the many reading pleasures the pages of every issue of PawTracks contain. The next time I write a president’s message, the Dallas convention will be right around the corner — with a great program that the convention program committee is already putting together, and more promises of shared information, friendship, and reunion! Until then, stay warm, enjoy the pleasures of spring with your pups, and thank you for your friendship and support.
*****
News Kibble From the Announcement Pouch
Compiled by Nolan Crabb
(It is with regret that we inform you that the GDUI fundraising cruise slated for later this year has been cancelled.)
A news item from a New Jersey newspaper had high praise for Elementary-school Nurse Bonnie DiCola, a puppy raiser for the Seeing Eye, citing her efforts in bringing guide dog puppies into the school and making them part of the school’s daily activities. The pups provide comfort to ill and injured students who stop by DiCola’s office, and the dogs get the added experience of being in a high-energy sometimes noisy school environment.

+++++

Apple’s iBeacon technology Could Soon Make a Difference in London

A news item in a London paper says transit officials there are working with Apple iBeacon Bluetooth technology to provide verbal announcements designed to help blind travelers navigate the city’s transit network. The system is still in its early formative stages; deployment of iBeacons is as yet uncompleted. But those who have tested it say it offers promise as a supplemental navigation aid.

+++++

Guide Dog Assists Former Baseball Professional
Bill Denehy was once listed as one of baseball’s promising rookies. His picture appeared on baseball cards alongside that of Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver. But these days, Denehy is most often found alongside Kane, a Fidelco German Shepherd. Denehy began to lose his sight in 2005; the blindness was caused by cortisone injections he received while playing pro ball pitching his way through the season with a sore arm.

He said getting his first dog, Kane, reminded him of the baseball season of 1964 when he made enough money to buy an Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible. Kane has given Denehy the confidence boost he needed to go places and do things he would not likely have attempted otherwise.

+++++

GDUI to Host May Board Meeting
The next board meeting of Guide Dog Users, Inc. is slated for May 30 at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. GDUI members are welcome to listen in on the calls and will be given the opportunity to ask questions and make comments. To join the meeting, call (712) 432-0075. The access code is 919245 followed by the pound sign.

+++++

Stay informed about GDUI activities and announcements via telephone. It’s the perfect way for those without a computer to get up-to-the-minute information about the affiliate. Call (646) 653-1900, and check back often. The phone announcements are changed every Tuesday.

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GDUI Advocacy Resource
Looking for guidance for those times when you need advocacy help? Check out the Advocacy Resources section of the GDUI web site at www.guidedogusersinc.org
for information about laws and regulations that define our rights as guide dog handlers as well as tips on self-advocacy. We welcome both your requests for assistance and your feedback. Contact us at
advocacy@guidedogusersinc.org.

+++++

Cabbie Loses ADA Suit After Refusing Ride to Service Dog
Jay Stapleton, The Connecticut Law Tribune
February 20, 2015

As a taxi driver recently learned, being afraid of dogs is not a legally valid excuse for refusing to pick up a disabled person with a service animal.

Mansoor Ahmad was fired from his job in 2011 for doing just that. In response, in a pair of lawsuits in both state and federal court, Ahmad claimed he was discriminated against because of his own disability: a fear of dogs.

On June 10, 2011, Ahmad was in his taxi waiting in line to pick up passengers at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks. When it was his turn to pick up a fare, Ahmad pulled up to the curb and saw the passenger was a person with a service dog. As he had previously been bitten by a dog, he refused to allow the passenger into his cab.
An airport taxi dispatcher who worked for the Connecticut Department of Transportation called the police. Ahmad and his father, who was driving a separate taxi for the company and who had come to his son’s defense, were both detained by police and subsequently fired.

In 2012, Ahmad filed separate lawsuits against the Yellow Cab Co. of New London Inc. and the Department of Transportation, which took Ahmad’s taxi license. Judges who were called on to review those lawsuits–one in state and the other in federal court came to the same conclusions and dismissed all claims.

On Feb. 6, Superior Court Judge Nina Elgo agreed that a fear of dogs is a recognized mental disability under the DSM-5 diagnostic manual of standards used by the courts. However, she stated, it does not protect someone who refuses services to or who denies access to another person with a disability. Under state and federal law, the judge wrote, Ahmad’s employment prohibited him from refusing to provide taxi service to individuals with service dogs.

Ahmad’s lawyer, John Williams of New Haven, said he was not surprised at the ruling. “I saw it coming,” he said, referring to a series of court decisions that have found that workers cannot claim employment discrimination if their disability stops them from performing the “essential functions of the job.”

In 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Siederbaum v. New York, found that a man with bipolar disorder could not sue the city for discrimination after it rejected his application to be a transit bus driver. The panel concluded that “a lack of bipolar disorder was an essential part of the job.”

In the Ahmad case, Elgo wrote, “under state and federal law, taxicab drivers are required to provide transportation to disabled individuals and their service animals, which constitutes an essential function of their job.” The plaintiff, she said, provided no authority to support “his ultimate claim, that in order to accommodate his disability, the defendant should be forced to violate state and federal laws which prohibit discrimination of another individual based on disability.”

Late last year, U.S. District Judge Alvin Thompson made a similar ruling in the federal lawsuit, which alleged Ahmad’s rights were violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
While neither outcome was surprising, it did appear to be the first time that a fear of dogs came up in an employment discrimination lawsuit in Connecticut. Because of that novelty, Williams said he thinks the decision will be of interest to employers who hire employment lawyers to draft policies about adhering to ADA regulations.
Similar issues have arisen from time to time, he said. For instance, he handled a case matter many years ago where a man claimed he could not provide a urine sample for employment drug testing because he had “lazy bladder syndrome.”

Daniel Schwartz, a Shipman & Goodwin employment law partner, has been following the case since 2012. He even wrote about the legal issues in his Connecticut Employment Law Blog. Of particular interest to Schwartz is the idea that a growing list of phobias that are recognized as disabilities could give rise to claims from workers seeking protection from discrimination.

The taxi driver, he noted, was successful in showing that fear of dogs was a disability. “Under the ADA, the definition of a disability is much broader than it was before,” he said. For instance, he said, many anxiety disorders are now recognized disabilities. Schwartz said this is one of the first cases, if not the first case, in which a Connecticut court held that “a phobia is a mental disorder in Connecticut.”
But, Schwartz said, in the taxi case, the public interest in making sure those with disabilities are treated fairly in the workplace ran up against the public interest in making sure people with disabilities who use service dogs have access to reliable transportation. The decision “came down to the fact that the government has a rule that cabbies need to pick up service animals,” he said. “I think it’s interesting from that perspective.”

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Candle in the Window Announces 2015 Retreat
The topic for this year’s Candle in the Window retreat is Blindness and Self-Esteem. The conference will again meet at the Wooded Glen Retreat Center in Henryville, In., minutes from Louisville, Ky.

Slated for August 5 through 9, the conference costs $550 for double-occupancy rooms and $530 for triple-occupancy. The fee includes roundtrip transportation between the Louisville airport and the retreat center, all meals during the conference, and your room. Participant slots are limited, and $40 will hold your place.

Conferees will look at such questions as how did our parents or those closest to us feel about having a blind child/adult in their lives? How did they make us feel inferior to/or as capable as our sighted piers? How did the sighted people with whom we interacted treat us and how did that affect our feelings about our self-esteem?

Participants should plan to arrive at the Louisville airport prior to 1:30 p.m. in order to take advantage of the group transportation offered. Those attending should book return flights no earlier than noon on Sunday.

Registration deadline is August 1. PayPal payments should be sent via email to: candleinthewindow1@gmail.com. If paying by check, send payment to Carlos Taylor, 925 S. Luick Ave., Muncie, IN 47302. Make checks payable to Candle in the Window.

For more information, contact Kathy Szinnyey, via email: joyfulrenegade@gmail.com or by phone: (502) 759-1288. You may also contact Patrick Votta, via email at pvotta@verizon.net or by phone: (718) 797-2475.

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Carroll Center Extends Partnership with Samsung Electronics to Test New Smart TV

The Carroll Center for the Blind is continuing its partnership with Samsung Electronics, which began in 2013, by conducting user testing of the new Smart TV portfolio with blind and visually impaired consumers.

The Carroll Center for the Blind, a vision rehabilitation center with more than 75 years of experience in training individuals to live more fully with vision loss, also provides accessibility services through its
Accessibility Services team
. “We evaluate web content for accessibility, perform user testing on consumer products to provide feedback about use by consumers with little or no vision and work with educational institutions to ensure their online courses are accessible to blind and low vision students,” explained Brian Charlson, Director of Technology at the Carroll Center.

Globally recognized for championing product usability among blind and visually impaired consumers, the Carroll Center is Samsung’s primary U.S. partner for accessibility testing. The ability to master technologies that provide equal access to information is critical for blind and visually impaired individuals to successfully compete for employment.

“We are thrilled to partner with companies like Samsung who are committed to providing equal access to their products and technology for all consumers, including those who are blind and visually impaired,” said Carroll Center President, Joseph Abely. “The Carroll Center teaches consumers with vision loss to live independent and productive lives, including how to seek opportunities for gainful employment. Knowing that manufacturers of mainstream consumer products are doing what they can to provide equal access for our clients is extremely important to our mission.”

In developing Samsung’s new Smart TVs–which are expected to hit U.S. retail locations in March–the Carroll Center’s blind testers were asked to provide feedback on a variety of Smart TV features and product specifications including:

The “Voice Guide,” which converts text to an audible voice output. Samsung continues to expand the quantity of menus and program guide features which can be read aloud by the Smart TV.

Visual accessibility enhancements such as contrast, color and magnification.

Tactile construction and layout of the TV remote.

Samsung also asked the Carroll Center’s Accessibility Services team to review their FCC Compliance Checklist. The CVAA requires manufacturers of Smart TVs to maintain records and report their efforts to improve the accessibility of their products.

As a result of the testing and evaluation, Samsung engineers made several adjustments to the Smart TVs and additional recommendations were noted for future innovation and enhancements. All of these adjustments are in accordance with the new U.S. government requirements for access to televised content, as outlined in the
21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA)
. Samsung’s thorough accessibility solutions make its Smart TVs easy to use and more enjoyable for all consumers, including those who are visually impaired.

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ACB Files Lawsuit in Behalf of Service Dog Users
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, American Council of the Blind and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP File Lawsuit Against D.C. Taxicab Companies for Refusing to Pick Up Blind Passengers with Service Animals

Contact: Matthew Handley, Director of Litigation, Washington Lawyers’ Committee, matthew_handley@washlaw.org; 202-319-1000
Melanie Brunson, Executive Director, American Council of the Blind, mbrunson@acb.org; 202-467-5081
Matthew MacLean, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, matthew.maclean@pillsburylaw.com; 202-663-8183

WASHINGTON (March 16, 2015) – The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP announced today that they have filed a lawsuit on behalf of Eric Bridges and the American Council of the Blind (ACB) against four taxicab companies in the District of Columbia for discriminatory practices against visually impaired individuals accompanied by service animals.

The complaint, filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, alleges that Yellow Cab of DC, Grand Cab, Elite Cab, and Pleasant Taxi all engaged in discriminatory practices when their drivers failed to pick up Eric Bridges, an ACB employee and member, who was hailing a cab with his service dog, General. This discriminatory treatment is all too common for blind and low-vision passengers who use service animals. As soon as taxi drivers see the service animal, they frequently drive by or refuse to pick up the passenger outright.

Matthew Handley, Director of Litigation at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, commented, “The incidents alleged in the complaint are just a few examples of the systemic discrimination that blind individuals with service animals face on a daily basis. Like anyone else, the blind depend on taxis and public transportation to get to work, meetings, and other daily activities. Equal access to public transportation and transportation services is a fundamental right under the DC Human Rights Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. The Cab Company Defendants have all contributed to this systemic discrimination and illegal activity by engaging in, and allowing their drivers to engage in, a pattern and practice of discrimination. This is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Said Plaintiff Eric Bridges, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs at the American Council of the Blind: “I often use taxis for business and personal travel. It is upsetting to have to stand outside on a cold, hot, or wet day and wait 40 minutes for a cab to stop for you simply because they don’t like your professionally trained dog, which is a mobility aid for the blind. Furthermore, not being able to see who is deliberately passing you by and report the incident because you can’t see the cab number or driver is frustrating. I am so glad that the filming done by WUSA9 has brought this issue into the public eye.”

Added ACB Executive Director Melanie Brunson, “The American Council of the Blind is glad to be a part of this lawsuit on behalf of the blind in the District. People come to DC from all over the country to attend conferences, advocate on the Hill, and as tourists. DC should be the gold standard for equal treatment and opportunity, including access to transportation services for the blind.”

In 2010, the Equal Rights Center (ERC), a national non-profit civil rights organization in DC, completed a study of taxicab hauling practices for blind individuals entitled, The Equal Rights Center, No Dogs Allowed: Discrimination by D.C. Taxicabs against People who use Service Dogs (2010) (http://www.equalrightscenter.org/site/DocServer/Taxicab_Report.pdf?docID=242). The ERC report concluded that there is a 50% rate of refusal of service for blind individuals with service dogs in DC. The ERC report further concluded that this discriminatory conduct requires a three-pronged response: periodic testing to ensure compliance by drivers, training of drivers and certifications that they will comply with the law, and enforcement of penalties against drivers and their taxicab companies for violations.

Taxicab companies are prohibited under federal and state law from discriminating on the basis of a disability such as blindness. Drivers are explicitly prohibited from refusing to pick up passengers with service animals. The complaint is based on only four incidents caught on camera by WUSA Channel 9 in a report on discrimination by taxicabs in the District of Columbia. The drivers at issue were videotaped passing Mr. Bridges and his service animal and stopping for an adjacent passenger who was sighted and did not have a dog accompanying him. The blatant discrimination seen on these videos is particularly shocking because blind individuals cannot see it themselves, nor can they identify the drivers or cabs that are passing them by.

Among other remedies, the lawsuit seeks to establish an annual random testing protocol for taxicabs in the District of Columbia. It cites recent operations run by the DC Taxicab Commission, the Anonymous Riders Program, which revealed systemic discrimination against blind individuals with service animals in the District.

Pillsbury became involved in the case through the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. The Committee became aware of the case when Mr. Bridges contacted the Committee after initially filing administrative complaints with the DC Office of Human Rights.

Copies of the complaint are available online at: www.washlaw.org

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE: The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs for over 45 years has represented both individuals and groups seeking to vindicate their civil rights. It has handled over 5,000 civil rights cases in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other aspects of urban life. It represents people with claims of discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, disability, age, religion, and sexual orientation. Leveraging its own broad expertise in discrimination litigation with the resources of Washington, D.C.’s private bar, the Committee’s litigation efforts have become nationally known for landmark court victories, record judgments, and precedent-setting consent decrees. Its capacity to mobilize the private bar has made it possible for the Committee to provide its clients with more than 50,000 hours of quality legal representation every year. For more information, visit www.washlaw.org; write to: Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, 11 DuPont Circle, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036; phone (202) 319-1000; or fax (202) 319-1010.

ABOUT AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND: The American Council of the Blind is the largest consumer-based organization of blind and visually impaired Americans advocating for the rights of blind Americans. Comprised of more than 70 affiliates across the United States, the organization is dedicated to making it possible for blind and visually impaired Americans to participate fully in all aspects of American society. For more information, visit www.acb.org; write to American Council of the Blind, 2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650, Arlington, VA 22201; phone (202) 467-5081; or fax (703) 465-5085.

ABOUT PILLSBURY WINTHROP SHAW PITTMAN, LLP: Pillsbury is a full-service law firm with an industry focus on energy & natural resources, financial services including financial institutions, real estate & construction, and technology. Based in the world’s major financial, technology and energy centers, Pillsbury counsels clients on global business, regulatory and litigation matters. We work in multidisciplinary teams that allow us to understand our clients’ objectives, anticipate trends and bring a 360-degree perspective to complex business and legal issues—helping clients to take greater advantage of new opportunities, meet and exceed their objectives and better mitigate risk. This collaborative work style helps produce the results our clients seek.
*****
GDUI 2015 Convention News
by Lillian Scaife, GDUI Convention Program Committee Chair

The theme of our 2015 Guide Dog Users, Inc. Convention is “Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs.” Congratulations to Annie Chiappetta, whose theme was the hands-down winner in our Choose-a-Theme competition!

The GDUI convention will once again be held in conjunction with the American Council of the Blind’s annual Conference and Convention. The 2015 annual ACB convention will be held at
the Sheraton Dallas, located at 400 N. Olive St. in downtown Dallas.
Pre-registration pickup will be on Thursday evening, July 2nd.
Convention activities and tours will be held from Friday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 11th.
The exhibit hall will be open from Saturday, July 4th through Wednesday, July 8.
The opening general session will be held Sunday, July 5, with daily sessions Monday through Thursday mornings, and all day Friday.
Tech sessions, committee and affiliate programming begin on Saturday and run through Thursday.

All GDUI convention meetings (with the exception of Sunday preliminary get-togethers, hotel orientations, and Helping you and Your Guide Dog Adjust to Convention Life Session, will be held each weekday after ACB general sessions have concluded, Monday, July 6 through Wednesday, July 8. In addition, GDUI will host Breakfast Club events each morning of convention, beginning on Monday, July 6, and ending on Wednesday, July 8. More details will be made available as we finalize events and hear back from our invited speakers.

• Traveling by Air Dallas is served by two airports, DFW and Love Field.
Love Field is serviced by Southwest Airlines and, effective April 2015, by Virgin America.
DFW features flights from numerous airlines including American, Delta, Frontier, Jet Blue, Sun Country and United.
For a list of airlines serving DFW, visit www.dfwairport.com/airlines/index.php

• Go Yellowchecker shuttle is offering ACB a roundtrip fare from either airport of $30.
Information regarding booking this service will be available closer to the convention.
You can also take the light rail from both airports. Light rail stops at Terminal One at DFW; from Love Field you can catch a shuttle to the light rail station. The Pearl Street light rail station is outside the Sheraton.

Amtrak comes to Dallas’ Union Station, approximately 1 mile from the hotel. Union Station is served by the light rail’s red or blue line or a very short cab ride to the hotel.

There is a Megabus stop in Dallas as well as a Greyhound station; both are located within easy traveling distance from the Sheraton.
For additional information on Greyhound, visit www.greyhound.com/en/locations/terminal.aspx? city=680780
Megabus information can be obtained at https://us.megabus.com/Megabus%20adds%20downtown%20Dallas%20service.aspx

We urge you to begin making your travel plans early so as to be able to procure the most reasonable rates and to make plans that can best suit your needs and situation.

• Hotel Details Room rates at the Sheraton Dallas are $89 (single, double, triple or quad) plus applicable state and local taxes (currently 13 percent) and tourism district fees (2 percent).
To reserve a room, call (888) 627-8191, and be sure to mention that you are attending the ACB convention.
To make reservations online, visit www.acb.org and follow the 2015 convention link.
For any questions or suggestions contact Lillian GDUI Programs Chair
programs@GuideDogUsersInc.org

For any additional information about the convention, visit http://guidedogusersinc.org/gdui-2015-convention/

Once again this year Tim and Maria Stone of Scoop Masters will be handling the dog relief areas at the ACB conference and convention. You can pre-order your dog food through Scoop Masters. Food will be delivered directly to your hotel room beginning July 2.

Scoop Masters’ website has a list of the most popular brands; if your preferred dog food is not on the list, Tim will try to obtain it for you. Please make any special requests prior to June 15. All other orders should be to Tim by Wednesday, June 24. Visit Tim online at: http://premiumpetfood.com/acb or call him at (800) 787-7667. When placing your order make sure to give ScoopMasters staffers your cell phone number so they can contact you in Dallas.
*****
Nominating Committee News

Hello from the GDUI 2015 Nominating Committee!
It won’t be long until GDUI members have the opportunity to vote in the upcoming May 2015 election, as well as voting on the proposed bylaws.

In July 2015, we will have two Director Positions become vacant. The nominating committee will open the application process very soon. Anyone interested in applying as a candidate for one of the two director positions is encouraged to do so. We hope you will consider joining the GDUI Board of Directors and volunteering your assistance to this wonderful guide dog organization!

The nominating committee will be sending out the application process information by way of the GDUI’s announce, chat and leadership list as well as posting it on GDUI’s web site. All candidate information will be shared with all members via Email, postal mailings and by holding two telephonic candidate forums. This will give GDUI members the opportunity to get to know each candidate and ask questions during the telephonic forums.

The members of the nominating committee are: Jane Sheehan, Betsy Grenevitch, Margie Donovan and Sarah Calhoun, chair. Lynn Merrill has volunteered her assistance in an advisory position. I want to thank everyone on the committee!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact: Sarah Calhoun, chair at secretary@guidedogusersinc.org. Or give Jane Sheehan, Office Manager a call at: (866) 799-8436.

On behalf of the GDUI nominating committee, we wish you and your guide dog a beautiful springtime!
Sarah Calhoun, chair
*****
Help GDUI Honor the People Who Make a Positive Difference in the Lives of Guide Dog Handlers!
Guide Dog Users, Inc. has a long tradition of honoring the people who have assisted us as guide dog handlers and improved our communities in positive ways. Again this year, we are seeking candidates for our Ethel Bender and Moffat-Gleitz awards. In addition, we wish to honor the writers who make our quarterly magazine, PawTracks, such an informative and entertaining publication.
To that end, we encourage you to think about all the PawTracks contributors whose stories, articles, and poems have informed and entertained you in the last year (including the Fall and Winter 2014 and Spring 2015 issues). If someone moved you or made you smile or taught you something new about yourself or your dog or your experience as a person who is blind, we hope you will nominate that writer for the PawTracks Excellence in Writing Award.

The Ethel Bender award honors a sighted person who has made a significant contribution to the guide dog community. Past winners included Ted Zubrycki, Lukas Frank and Michael Lilly.

The Moffat-Gleitz Award honors a person who is blind who has improved the lives of guide dog users.

Awards will be presented at the GDUI annual luncheon on Wednesday, July 8 in Dallas. Send your nominations to Becky Barnes Davidson at this address:
Beckyb1120@gmail.com
Put the words: “GDUI AWARD Nomination(s)” in your subject line.

No access to e-mail? Call GDUI’s office manager, Jane Sheehan at (866) 799-8436. Please submit your nominations by June 1, 2015, and thank you for helping us honor the people who make life for guide dog teams better every day.
*****
2015 Candidate Information
(The following information was provided to PawTracks by those seeking office in the upcoming election. After thoughtful deliberation, the editor determined that the information should be presented to you exactly as it was presented to the publication. To that end, none of this information has been edited prior to publication.)

To the nomination committee. I want to thank you for your willingness to consider my application for a director seat on the board of guide dog users. I will be providing my information in three emails as I have found this to work out well for me. This will be my cover letter and I will then send in the Application and resume next.
Hello, my name is Vickie Curley and I have been a dog guide handler since June of 1978 I have always had a love and deep appreciation for dogs and dreamed that one day I would have the opportunity to work with them. Even as a visually impaired child I seemed to have a knack when it came to working with dogs in teaching basic obedience exercises such as sit, down, and stay. As I got older I really wanted to train with a guide dog, but I believed that I had too much vision to do so. I lost the remainder of my vision during my high school years. I Applied to the Seeing Eye for my first dog during my last year of High school and was excepted in the Late June 1978 class. It was in that first class at the Seeing Eye that I learned that one could apply for a dog even if he or she did have some usable vision. My early dog guide handler life was a rough one, no pun intended. I had several dogs that did not work out for various reasons and I wondered if I was ever going to have a long lasting working relationship with a guide. The great news is that I did eventually get a wonderful match and I have to believe that my difficult path to this grate match taught me so much and gave me a very deep appreciation for a successful match. I have been fortunate to have several fantastic matches after that first one. I have learned never to take my dog guide for granted, but to appreciate each and every day we have together as a team. I became a member of Guide Dog Users many years ago and was so glad to learn of an Organization that truly cared for the needs of dog guide handlers in all walks of life. I was still hopeful that one day I might find a way to actually get a chance to work with dogs in some capacity. I was blessed with a fantastic opportunity in 1986. I was excepted for class at West Virginia canine college training school. I was the first blind person to go through this training curriculum. The program was designed to give me a foundation with regard to quite a few different training areas. This school did not deal with Service dog training at all. The course itself was eight weeks long. I was taught skills in obedience, both basic and advanced, problem-solving, dog evaluation, tracking, personal protection, search and rescue, and other forms of police work. To tell you that I was living my dream would be an understatement. haha! The hours were long, the work was quite dirty at times, but I felt like I had died and gone to doggy heaven. I had around 40 dogs at any given time to work with. I was also responsible for their feeding and care each day. The one area where my instructor did deviate from the kennel protocol was that he did not expect me to clean the entire kennel every day. I would feed, and he would clean. I did want to give it a try. Yes, I was successful at cleaning the entire kennel, but it did take me quite a while. Ha ha! At least I knew I could do it. I am pleased to say that I graduated from the West Virginia canine college program with a 96% grade. In other words, I got an A! haha! Graduating with an A grade from this program meant the world to me. This training program gave me a strong foundation to begin training on my own as a private instructor. I did return to West Virginia canine college to teach while they were going through a time of transition. My training education has helped me in so many ways. I was able to work with many different kinds of dogs as well as many different kinds of people. I love dog evaluation as this skill is so important when it comes to finding the right dog for the right job. Our dog guide schools face this every day.
While I was still living in Cleveland I put together a support group for dog guide handlers called Tail Talk. The group was a place for dog guide handlers and there friends to come and talk with others about the ups and downs of dog guide life. We had quite a few members from several different schools who would come and share the good times and the hard times with other handlers who truly did understand just how complex the dog guide relationship can be. It was at this point that I came to realize just how important it is to have support from other dog guide handlers. My family and I moved to a small town in New Jersey in 2005. Not long after our move we began raising puppies for the Seeing Eye. initially, my daughter was the primary razor and I was the secondary. I am now the primary razor and have been for our last two puppies. I have a nearly 15 month old shepherd who will be returning very soon to the Seeing Eye for his formal training. My prayer for him is that he becomes someones wonderful guide.
It wasn’t until 2008 that I was able to attend my first Guide Dog Users convention. It was wonderful and it was at that time that I decided to do all I could for this grate organization. I had been a member for a while, but I really wanted to do more. I was able to contribute financially to Dog Club radio and also become a life member of GDUI as well. I was appointed to the guide dog users board last June. I am very appreciative of the immediate past president’s confidence in me to be able to contribute to GDUI in this way. Through out these last 9 months of working on the Convention committee and the Fund raisers committee as well as chairing the Special concerns committee I have grown to have even more of a deep appreciation for this wonderful organization. As Chair of the Special concerns committee we have put together a very strong Empathizers team who stands ready to provide a listening ear to any of our members and friends may want to talk with someone who truly understands the ups and downs of dog guide handler life. No matter what the outcome of this election is I plan to continue to do all I can for GDUI.
###
Date, March 11th 2015Vickie Curley
16 Green Farm ln. Stockton NJ. 08559
Home number, 908-500-4849 Cell number, 908-329-5135 Email address, njtribefan@yahoo.com I have been a dog guide handler since 1978.
1. I would love to continue working on the GDUI board as I have already made grate strides in getting our Empathizer team in place, but there is more to be done. I would like to work to make all GDUI members aware of it’s existence so they will know where they can go for understanding that only other dog guide handlers can truly give. I also have an idea for another project that will take some time to put together, but will upon it’s completion provide interested dog guide handlers as well as potential dog guide handlers a place to go to find answers to questions about particular schools without dealing with any kind of emotional involvement. This will take some time, but with the help of the dog guide school liaison along with a very capable committee I believe this goal can be achieved.
2. My strong suit seems to be the more personal side of things. Is where I am very interested in the legislative side of things, and am very willing to help in that area as that benefits all of us, I seem to do my best work on the personal needs of dog guide handlers. I do enjoy advocacy both on the larger side as well as the individual, but the individual seems to be where I feel most at home. I do have facilitation skills with regard to running a phone conference. I have shared the special concerns committee and held phone conferences and have them work very well. This is an area that I am definitely willing to work with if it should be needed.
3.Starting in September of 2012 I was part of a group called the Seeing Eye work group. We were unhappy with the recent layoffs and wanted to band together to try and encourage the Seeing Eye management to hear our ideas for hopefully improving things in the future. It was a tough road to go, but we believe that we were instrumental in several things. Unfortunately I do not have 100% proof of these things. It was not until after our group us to have List contact with the schools administration and engaged in dialogue encouraging the schools administration to except graduate input with regard to several areas that the school put in place several update calls throughout the year. I want to be very upfront about the fact that we do not have proof that it was, indeed, the Seeing Eye work group that prompted the school to hold these update calls, but the timing is such that we feel that we were at least part of the reason for putting these calls in place. I have been a member of American Council of the blind for many years! Our Cleveland chapter was able to establish a working relationship with several local television shows to make audible the creepers the go along the bottom of the television screen in weather alerts and other areas.

4. Yes, I am proof that an old dog can learn new tricks. I have only been a part of the computer world for around 6 years and I am learning new things every day.
5. Yes, I have already been attending most of the board meetings for this past year and for part of this time, the meetings were happening every month. I did miss one special meeting due to sickness, but will only miss if I really have no choice.
6. I have already sent in the other two parts to this application. Again, I want to sincerely thank the nominating committee for it’s consideration of my application to run for a board of directors seat.

All the Lords blessings from Vickie and Valor.Join us on our adventures at underdogblog.livejournal.com =
###

To the nominating committee. I want to thank you for your consideration for my candidacy for the board of directors of guide dog users Inc.
Resume

While I was in secondary school I volunteered with the Red Cross as an assistant for and elderly blind woman who lived alone and needed help with reading mail and other things around her home. I did have some vision at that time, but not enough to help with the mail reading. I was able to help with other kinds of Organizational tasks around her home.
My first paying Jjob was a counselor position at Camp High Brook lodge which was and still is run by the Cleveland society for the Blind located in Cleveland Ohio. I worked there from June till September of 1980. For the next several summers after I volunteered at that camp as I really enjoyed that kind of work.
I also volunteered quite often at the Cleveland society for the blind giving tours and talking with school groups about blindness and working with a dog guide.
I was featured at the ripe old age of 19 in a short United Way film in 1979.
I worked for several years with the state of Ohio food service program.
I was a floater. I would work the food stands of those who were on vacation. I started with this in early 1977 till I moved to Dayton Ohio to attend right state University in 1978. Upon returning to Cleveland, I resumed my floater job with the state food service program until the mid-80s.
I attended West Virginia canine college in the winter of 1986. I subsequently taught there the next year for several months. The program was going through a time of transition and I was given the opportunity to teach while this was going on.
I was then self employed as a dog trainer from 1986 until I relocated to New Jersey in 2005.
Upon my move to New Jersey I volunteered for the Seeing Eye in two areas. The first was as a public speaker for the school. Secondly, my Family and I became a part of the Seeing Eye puppy raiser project. At this time I am on my fifth puppy for the Seeing Eye.
All the Lords blessings from Vickie and Valor.Join us on our adventures at underdogblog.livejournal.com =

***
FEBRUARY 22, 2015

My name is Ken Metz, and I am seeking the opportunity to run as a candidate for the Board of Directors for Guide Dog Users, Inc.

As you can see by my application, I have had many years of experience as a guide dog handler using guide dogs through all of my education and throughout my employment period of over 40 years.

I believe that the work I have done in regards to numerous aspects of constantly working for the improvement, access and advocacy for guide dogs and their handlers has been almost a lifelong part of my life and will always continue to be in the forefront.

For almost 52 years of being a guide dog handler, I have without question fought for our rights to have our guide dogs as our wonderful mobility tools and beings that they are. I constantly think of improvements we as handlers as well as the guide dog schools might consider making to further improve our dogs abilities if that were even possible.

I would very much appreciate being on the Board of directors of GDUI in order to continue my abilities of working for the betterment of our use of guide dogs on the national level as much or more than I have done on the State level.

Please allow me to have that opportunity, and I will do everything possible to put my full energy into this position if I am to win the election. I am also interested in being a part of seeing GDUI reach a new peak in membership.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and I look forward to hearing from the Nominating Committee.

Best Regards,

Ken Metz and Guide Dog Cari
Attached: Ken Metz Resume and Board Candidate Application
###
GDUI Board of Directors Application
Date: 02-22-2015

Applicant’s Name: Ken Metz
Address: 21500 Lassen Street, Space 57
City: Chatsworth
State: CA
Zip Code: 91311
Home telephone: (818) 882-3610
Cell phone: (323) 793-1805
Email address: kenmetz1946@gmail.com
Are you a guide dog user? XXXYes/No

GDUI has three major responsibilities:
To promote the acceptance of guide dog teams by all agencies, employers, educational institutions, commercial establishments, and the general public.
To work for the expansion, standardization, and enforcement of legal provisions, both civil and criminal, governing the rights and responsibilities in the areas of public access, employment, housing, personal injury to dog and handler, transportation, and recreation.
To work in cooperation with guide dog training providers in contributing input in the areas of selection, training, health care, and accommodations for both canine and human students, and to provide constructive input to improve the quality of the training experience. With this in mind, please answer the following questions.

Why do you want to serve on the GDUI Board?

I am interested in serving on the GDUI Board because I have been a member for close to 25 years. I have also been a member of Guide Dog Users of California serving in almost every position on the Board including being a Past President in the early 1990’s.

I have been a guide dog advocate ever since getting my first guide dog in 1963 from GDB and have continued that role today.

I served on the Board of Directors for Guide Dogs of America in the mid-90’s and have also testified for guide dog legislation in Sacramento. For those reasons and many more, I believe that I would have a lot to offer the GDUI Board of Directors.

Which of your skills and experiences would most support Board activities?

I would say that I have reasonably good written and great oral communications skills. Before my retirement after working over 40 years, I held various job positions which I would say demonstrated my good leadership qualities of which the best would have been my people skills. I have always had a good rapport with the numerous guide dog trainers I have met in my almost 52 years of using guide dogs as well as speaking to several puppy raiser clubs in my local area. I also have spoken to school children and will be participating for the fourth year at the Center for the Partially Sighted in the Los Angeles Area speaking to five or six groups of second-grade students that they bring in annually to go through various aspects of blindness in a round-about.

Please describe a time when a group of which you were a part accomplished its goal(s). What caused the group to be successful? How did you contribute to this success?

In 1978, I was President of a California guide dog group called “Friends of Guide Dogs” in the San Francisco Chapter. When two of us with guide dogs got on a local San Francisco bus, we were told that the rule stated that only one person could ride the bus with a dog at a time. This was due to the fact that at that time, pet dogs could ride the buses. The person I was with was my ex-wife who also had a guide dog. I organized our group to meet at the beginning of a bus line with eight folks and eight guide dogs. They were not going to take us, and I kept the group together on the bus arguing that they could not take our right to travel away as California was under the White Cane Law at that time which allowed access to public transportation. A supervisor came out and told us that we had to get off, and we still refused. The supervisor then told the driver to take us directly to our destination and not pick any other passengers up. I told him that if they did that we’d have to consider that kidnapping, and that was illegal. We finally got to our destination, and I called KCBS Radio who sent a reporter to our meeting place for interviews. We also got a Methodist Church in San Francisco behind us, and we found a way to meet with the San Francisco Public Utilities Director who authorized signs to be placed on every bus, streetcar and cable car stating “no limit to the number of guide dogs on the San Francisco MUNI.

About four or five years ago, several of us organized a guide dog patrol group in Los Angeles, and when one person was refused entrance into a restaurant, we had nine of us with guide dogs at that restaurant the following week. While we had some issues with the waiter and the management, we did get served after over two hours of sitting in there. We also had a group of four of us with guide dogs visit both a 7-11 store and a Vietnamese restaurant who did not want guide dogs in their establishments.

The GDUI Board of Directors uses email to communicate with each other. Are you able to communicate electronically and have access to email?
Yes. Not a problem.

The GDUI Board of Directors meets bi-monthly by telephone in the evening. Meetings last from 1 to 2 hours. Other ad hoc telephonic meetings are sometimes called as well.
Will you be able to find time to perform the tasks described above?

Yes. Now that I am retired, I have time although I am also involved in Guide Dogs of California as the Membership Committee Chair, and am currently President of my local Chapter of the California Council of the Blind (Greater LA Chapter).

Please submit this questionnaire along with a cover letter and resume to the Chairperson of the nominating committee, Sarah Calhoun.

If you would like to submit your cover letter, Director application and your resume via Email, please put the words, “Director application” in the subject line and Email to: secretary@guidedogusersinc.org

If you would like to mail your cover letter, application and resume by the United States Postal Service, please mail to:

GDUI Nominating Committee
C/O Sarah Calhoun
3603 Morgan Way
Imperial, MO 63052

If you have any questions concerning the application process or the position as a director on the board, please contact GDUI’s office manager, Jane Sheehan at: 1-866-799-8436. Or feel free to contact Sarah Calhoun, chair of the nominating committee at: 1-636-942-5956.

###
Ken Metz
21500 Lassen Street, Space 57
Chatsworth, CA 91311
kenmetz1946@gmail.com
(818) 882-3610-HOME PHONE
(323) 793-1805-CELL PHONE

OBJECTIVE: To be considered as a candidate as a Director on the Guide Dog Users Inc. Board of Directors using my almost 52 years of experience as a guide dog handler.

EXPERIENCE: I had twelve years of customer service handling both active and retired employee complaints regarding their benefits specifically in the field of Health Insurance and Savings Plan programs. I later worked as a travel agent for four years which dealt directly with the public on a daily basis, and later worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor for the Blind and then retired as the Director of the Davidson Program for Independence (DPI), a residential program for mostly newly blinded individuals.

EMPLOYMENT: I am now retired, but worked for 21 years at Pacific Telephone in San Francisco, then as a travel agent, as a Rehab Counselor for the Blind for the State of California, and as a Director of a residential training program for newly blind individuals, at the junior blind of America in Los Angeles.

VOLUNTEER WORK: I have been in the California Council of the Blind (CCB) since 1974, Guide Dog Users of California and Guide Dog Users Inc (national organization) for over 20 years, and was in the Lions Club for 14 years in Northern California where I worked on advocacy issues regarding guide dogs and other blindness related programs. I have held the office of President in my Lions Clubs three times, was President of the Lions Center for the Blind of Oakland, California, President-GDUC, President of two CCB Chapters, and have been on the Board of Directors of CCB and Second Vice President on the State level. I was also on the Board of Directors for the Contra Costa Center for Independent Living.

I have also presented in various public speaking programs through the Lions Club, with the California Council of the Blind and Guide Dogs of America along with being a presenter for the Washington State Transportation Authority, the Pacific Northwest Association of Educators and Rehabilitation counselors for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and a Washington State Volunteer Organization.

I was also on the CAC for Access Services and as the Chair of that committee for two years.

EDUCATION: I graduated with a BA in Speech Communications with a minor in Broadcasting from San Francisco State University in 1969.

I would be happy to provide any other information upon request.
***
GDUI Nominating Committee
C/O Sarah Calhoun
3603 Morgan Way
Imperial, MO 63052

March 15, 2015

Dear Nominating Committee:
I, Dixie Sanderson, would like to submit my name as a candidate for the position of Director on the GDUI Board. I have enclosed my application and resume.
I have enjoyed serving this interim period as a Director and hope to continue to work on behalf of those of us guide dog handlers in the capacity of Director in the coming years.
I thank you for your consideration of my candidacy.

Sincerely,
Dixie Sanderson
CobaltBlueHeron@gMail.com
18 Paddock Lane
Guilford, CT 06437
H: 203-458-6474
C: 203-453-6474

###
GDUI Board of Directors Application
Date: March 15, 2015
Applicant’s Name: Dixie Sanderson
Address: 18 Paddock Lane
City: Guilford
State: CT
Zip Code: 06437
Home telephone: 203-458-6474
Cell phone: 203-453-6474
Email address: CobaltBlueHeron@gmail.com
Are you a guide dog user? Yes
GDUI has three major responsibilities:
To promote the acceptance of guide dog teams by all agencies, employers, educational institutions, commercial establishments, and the general public.
To work for the expansion, standardization, and enforcement of legal provisions, both civil and criminal, governing the rights and responsibilities in the areas of public access, employment, housing, personal injury to dog and handler, transportation, and recreation.
To work in cooperation with guide dog training providers in contributing input in the areas of selection, training, health care, and accommodations for both canine and human students, and to provide constructive input to improve the quality of the training experience. With this in mind, please answer the following questions.
Why do you want to serve on the GDUI Board?
I believe whole heartedly in the mission of GDUI. I want to serve on the GDUI board to help to further the mission of GDUi and guide dog handlers.
I have done several talks at schools, as a guide dog user, in order to teach about acceptance and promote understanding of those of us using service dogs.
Which of your skills and experiences would most support Board activities?
I have strong computer skills, internet research, skills, an accounting background, management skills, and work well with the public.
Please describe a time when a group of which you were a part accomplished its goal(s). What caused the group to be successful? How did you contribute to this success?
I have been the Service Unit Manager for our town’s 70 Girl Scout troops. I was the leader of 2 Girl Scout troops from Kindergarten through 12th grade, and those girls bridged to adult Girl Scouts, several of whom have become lifetime members of the Girl Scouts. I feel that encouraging the girls to continue in Scouting throughout their school years and into adulthood was a success of my mission as their leader.
Over those years we organized and executed several town wide events including a handful of town wide campouts. I helped my 2 troops to plan coordinate, and execute these weekend long campouts for up to 300 younger girls.
As the leader of the troops I helped the girls to plan and execute town wide campouts. I helped the girls to pick out the programs they wanted to carry out, helped them to find sources for information for projects to hold for the younger girls to do at the campout.
I was responsible to among other things, be sure that all the safety regulations were addressed, appropriate trainings were taken, supplies were collected, properties were secured for the events, as well as making sure that each of the girls were attending to the tasks they had been appointed in order to make the event successful.
I was also responsible to coordinate the leaders of the other troops attending, and verify that the several troops and their leaders followed proper safety guidelines.
The discussion of what each individuals responsibilities were, the cooperation of all of those involved, as well as offering support to those participants were the elements that helped the events to be successful for all who were participating.
The GDUI Board of Directors uses email to communicate with each other. Are you able to communicate electronically and have access to email? Yes

The GDUI Board of Directors meets bi-monthly by telephone in the evening. Meetings last from 1 to 2 hours. Other ad hoc telephonic meetings are sometimes called as well.
Will you be able to find time to perform the tasks described above? Yes

Please submit this questionnaire along with a cover letter and resume to the Chairperson of the nominating committee, Sarah Calhoun.
If you would like to submit your cover letter, Director application and your resume via Email, please put the words, “Director application” in the subject line and Email to: secretary@guidedogusersinc.org

If you would like to mail your cover letter, application and resume by the United States Postal Service, please mail to:

GDUI Nominating Committee
C/O Sarah Calhoun
3603 Morgan Way
Imperial, MO 63052

If you have any questions concerning the application process or the position as a director on the board, please contact GDUI’s office manager, Jane Sheehan at: 1-866-799-8436. Or feel free to contact Sarah Calhoun, chair of the nominating committee at: 1-636-942-5956.

###
Dixie Sanderson
18 Paddock Lane, Guilford, CT 06437
H: 203-458-6474 C: 203-453-6474
CobaltBlueHeron@gmail.com
Education
Freedom Scientific, Clearwater FL, Training for Trainers (January 2006)
Attended and successfully completed the Training for Trainers course of study at Freedom Scientific

Manchester Community College, Manchester CT, Associates Degree in Accounting (May 1982)
Employment:
My Blind Spot, Inc. Finance Director (2013-present)
Responsible to maintain financial records of the non-profit.

Lighthouse Bookkeeping Service, Guilford CT, Sole Proprietor (1998-2004)
Owned and ran bookkeeping service using QuickBooks Pro as primary software to process accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll and quarterly taxes for all clients.

Shoreline Foundation Aquadome, Madison CT, Assistant Director (1999-2004)
Managed a staff of over 40 lifeguards and swim instructors; responsible for reviewing and hiring job applicants. Responsible for creating and maintaining swimming lesson class schedules and employee schedules. Responsible for maintaining employee payrolls and records. Coordinated and executed employee trainings on a regular basis; instructor in lifeguarding and swim instructor trainings.
Community Service:
Connecticut Council of the Blind, Treasurer (2010-Present)
Responsible for maintaining membership records, financial records and tax filings for the nonprofit organization.

Guide Dog Users, Incorporated (GDUI), Director(2014-Present)
Prepared 2015 Guide Dog School Survey, member of Advocacy, Publications, Web, and DAPP committees.
Moderator of GDUI email lists.
I have also served as a member of the Legislative Committee, and the Finance Committee, in prior years.

Cornerstone Church Missions, Clinton CT, Committee Chairperson (2011-Present)
Delegate and oversee all allocation of funds to any and all supported missionaries, outreach projects and outreach programs. Liaison on behalf of missionaries, outreach programs and outreach projects to educate and communicate to the church congregation missionary, program and project needs.

Lion’s Club, Guilford CT, Board of Directors Member (2008-2013)
Responsible for coordinating and executing fundraising events regularly throughout the year. Responsible for the allocation of raised funds to various charities.

Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Service Unit Leader, Girl Scout Leader (1995-2008)
Leader for 2 Girl Scout troops as well as the Service Unit Manager for the town. I also served as Newsletter Secretary and Training Coordinator.
*****
Be Informed and Ready for the Summer Traveling Season
by Ginger Kutsch, GDUI Legislative Committee Chair
We’re just days away from Memorial Day, the beginning of summer travel/vacations and for some, the summer conventions. Are you up to speed on understanding your rights as an airline passenger with a guide dog and how to deal with difficulty should it arise?

If you have problems and wish to alert federal officials regarding your issue with an airline, you can call the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Disability Hotline (800) 778-4838. But the Hotline is only staffed from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Passengers who experience discrimination by the airline are entitled to immediate on-site assistance (either in person or by phone) from a Complaints Resolution Official (CRO). Each air carrier must have at least one Complaints Resolution Official (CRO) available at each airport during times of scheduled air carrier operations.

Any passenger with a complaint of alleged violations of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) rules is entitled to communicate with a CRO. The CRO has authority to resolve complaints on behalf of the air carrier. The CRO, however, does not have authority to countermand a safety-based decision made by the pilot-in-command of an aircraft.

If the CRO agrees with the passenger that a violation of the rule occurred, the CRO must give the passenger a written statement summarizing the facts and what steps if any, the air carrier proposes to take in response to the violation.

If the CRO determines that no violation has occurred, the CRO must give the passenger a written statement summarizing the facts and reasons for the decision or conclusion.

If possible, the CRO’s written statement must be given to the passenger at the airport; otherwise, it will be sent to the passenger within 10 days of the incident.

If the passenger is not satisfied with the response, the passenger has the right to pursue an enforcement action with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). If a passenger chooses to file a written complaint, the complaint should note whether the passenger contacted the CRO at the time of the alleged violation, and include the CRO’s name and the date of contact, if available. It should include any written response received from the CRO. Complaints should be submitted within 45 days after the date of an alleged violation.

A carrier must respond to a written complaint within 30 days after receiving it. The response must state the airline’s position on the alleged violation, and may also state whether and why no violation occurred, or what the airline plans to do about the problem.

Any person believing that an air carrier has violated any provision of the ACAA rules may file a complaint with the DOT at:
http://airconsumer.dot.gov/CP_DisabilityandDiscrimination.htm

Finally, here’s what the DOT’s publication “Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Air Travel of People with Disabilities Under the Amended Air Carrier Access Act Regulation” says about relief areas:
20. How will travelers accompanied by assistance dogs/service animals know where the relief areas are located in U.S. airports?
Answer: Passengers who request that the carrier provide them with assistance to an animal relief area should be advised by the carrier of the location of the animal relief area. Additionally, if requested, it would be the responsibility of the carrier to accompany a passenger traveling with a service animal to and from the animal relief area.

29. Who is responsible for providing escort assistance to an airport service animal relief area and how can a passenger accompanied by a service animal obtain such assistance?

Answer: Airlines are responsible for providing assistance to animal relief areas upon request at those airports where such animal relief areas are required. Airlines are free to use contractors to provide this service. Passengers can obtain such assistance by requesting it from appropriate airline personnel. (See question 20 also dealing with service animal relief escort assistance.)
*****
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS FOR YOU AND YOUR GUIDE DOG
Are You Prepared? Let’s Do It Today!
The GDUI Assistance Preparedness Program

Let’s hope it won’t happen to you, your family or friends. But in reality it can happen to any one of us in a second. Our whole life can be turned upside down, leaving us displaced, confused, and forced to restrict our regular daily living. I’m referring to the unfortunate catastrophic events caused by tornados, hurricanes, flooding, fires or many other disastrous situations that can leave us completely unsettled. We all hope and pray nothing like this will happen to us, our family or friends, but bad things do happen. Taking some simple precautions ahead of time can help us endure such emergency situations and mitigate some of the negative things that could happen.

Yes, we need to be prepared! That is of course, as prepared as one possibly can be before the unexpected happens. Making an emergency survival kit for you and your guide dog is the best thing you can do; do it today! Your kit should be supplied with daily essential needs, at least three days’ worth for each of you. This includes enough food, fresh water, medicine, blankets, clothes, other needs along with current information about you and your guide dog.

The GDUI Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program (DAPP) has compiled a “Pet Preparedness Kit” information package to assist our members in preparing your own survival kit for you and your guide dog. The package includes four separate documents you can copy and print to be completed by you.

To find and print these documents, visit www.guidedogusersinc.org
And click on “Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program”
You will find:
1. “My Health Information, Survival Kit”
2. “Service Dog Information, Survival Kit”
3. “Tips on making your own survival kit for you and your guide dog.”

The DAPP team recommends you visit www.ready.gov to review the various emergency preparedness brochures published by Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Or you can call for free brochures at: (800) 237-3239.

After completing all necessary information, we suggest placing them in a water-tight plastic bag and/or water-tight rubber container. Put them in your emergency kit. Remember, it is important to go through your emergency kit to update any information about you and your guide dog. Do this each month using the food and water in your survival kit then replace with a fresh supply.

You may want to make a second set of your emergency documents and place them in your refrigerator, again in a water tight plastic bag with the word, “Emergency” written on it. Many first responders are trained to look inside a refrigerator to find this type of information if they find a person unresponsive in his/her home.

We hope you and your guide dog will never experience any type of a disastrous situation, an emergency or any type of a catastrophic event, leaving you displaced from your home, food, shelter or daily living needs. Being prepared ahead of time though makes sense for all of us “just in case!”
*****
Gallantry in Action
by Anne Chiapetta, GDUI Publications Committee Chair

(The author has been paired with a new guide since this was written.)

In January 2009 I was paired with my first guide dog, Verona. She is a calm, careful and sensitive black Labrador retriever, a great dog for a first timer like me. Over the years, many folks have asked how long she IS expected to work and what will happen when she retires.

While I explain some of the choices facing Verona’s retirement, not knowing when this will happen makes me a bit nervous. Long timers say that the handler will know. I have so many doubts and questions about retiring my dog.
I can’t read her mind, only her signals. I can’t look into those luminous brown eyes and understand her soul and even if I could, would I be able to interpret what they express?
To help the first timer anxiety about what the signals are and how to make the difficult decision to hang up the harness, below are some helpful tips taken from an article titled, “Retiring a Guide Dog, When is the Right Time?” (www.guidedogusersinc.org).
“If you are trying to evaluate whether your guide is approaching the time for retirement, here are some things to consider which may help you to come to the conclusion that’s right for you and your guide.
• Do you find that you are choosing to leave your guide at home more and more often, rather than working with him/her?
• Does your guide seem to struggle with certain aspects of your day to day routine?
• When our guides begin to slow down, it’s helpful to be observant to assess whether they’re in physical or mental discomfort. Stress can slow a dog down, as can physical issues like arthritis. Age-related slowing might not necessarily mean that a dog needs to retire, but it is a good idea to evaluate the safety of the team. These are some things to consider as you assess your dog’s physical condition and his/her stress-level.
• Are you having trouble crossing very wide streets quickly enough with your guide?
• Does your guide have difficulty getting on and off busses, in and out of vans or SUVs, or up and down stairs, or does he/she show reluctance to do these things?
• Does your guide show a reluctance toward his/her harness?
• Another thing to consider is your own stress-level. As stressful as it is for many handlers to consider training with a new guide, the stress of coping with a guide in need of retirement can be an even bigger burden for that handler and those around him/her.”

One instructor told me that it’s time to retire a dog when the handler accommodates the dog more than the dog accommodates its handler.

Like many things of this nature in life, there isn’t a book to follow nor is there a general formula. Therefore, I am grateful for being a part of a community that shares such valuable information with its members.

Verona, bless her doggie soul, just seems to be slow and less enthusiastic. Taking the advice of the guide dog school instructors, I am getting ready to let her just be a dog. She’s already achieved the canine equivalent of the Silver Star by performing gallant actions. She has protected us by preventing collisions with moving vehicles, avoided injury by avoiding construction, curbs, menacing dogs, and crowds. In fact, she and many other dog guides around the world perform these tasks every day. After all, it’s their job. I know my fellow handlers know exactly what I mean when I say that my dog is not only my mobility aid but also my hero.
I suppose I am letting Verona tell me how much or how little she wants to keep working. It comes down to doing what is right for her and although it is breaking my heart, I’ll suck it up and give her time to take herself into canine senior citizenship with dignity and love. After all, we have faced so much together, spent so much time together and have grown to understand each other species to species, she’s earned a nice, comfortable life of long walks and napping in the sunbeams.
*****
Preaching to the Choir: things Only Other Guide Dog Handlers Understand
Acting beyond what is Asked of Them
By Rebecca Kragnes

People think it’s so amazing when our guides do things which are simply
their jobs. “Wow! He took her around a trash can.” “Wow! He didn’t let her
trip over that wet floor sign!” I try not to take these things for granted,
but sometimes it’s the things our dogs do which are not formally trained and
aren’t part of their jobs which just amaze me.

Right now, Phil is in rehabilitation for an amputation of his leg. He had
the other one amputated ten years ago. He isn’t asking Garron to guide him
or giving him any correction if the wheelchair hits something, but Garron is
guiding anyway and improving daily on clearance of the chair. Phil and I
laugh, because he was in a wheelchair when at school getting Garron for a
day or so. An instructor told him not to have Garron guide in his chair, and
we realize the school probably wouldn’t approve of Garron even being in
harness and walking beside the wheelchair. But sometimes our dogs do what
they do, and who are we to argue, as long as we don’t expected it of them?
This is a big example, but I think we all have lots of little ones. At least
I know I do.

We can all tell stories about knowing a friend is in the room, and certainly
if I’m waiting for someone on my porch, I always know when they’re here,
because of my “wagometer.” Every Sunday evening I play piano at the Malt
Shop – a restaurant here in Minneapolis, and I get a paratransit ride home
after having my meal as “payment”. Wait staff try to watch the windows for
the van to pull up to the door. Sometimes they miss it, but often Zane
doesn’t. The public part of the restaurant consists of two rooms, and it
doesn’t matter whether we are in the one by the door or away from it. Zane
has stood up and gently pulled me as if to say, “Hey, they’re here. Come
on.”

While Phil and Garron are away, Zane and I have established our own schedule
and routine. Everything still happens as normal, but it’s just later in the
day. So his last park is at around 2 in the morning. One late night after
the last park, he just wouldn’t come to me when I was in bed, and once he
came, I couldn’t get him to settle down. Then I realized that I’d forgotten
to give him his little milk bone. Other nights when I’ve forgotten, he sits
down in front of me and won’t let me walk anywhere as if to say, “You forgot
something which happens after I output for the last time. I output, and then
you input.”

Speaking of outputting, he has some special signals to let me know it’s time
to park. Last night after he’d relieved in the front yard coming home, I
thought we were set for a little bit until he came and jumped on me. I
always forget that Zane is not the cuddle dog my goldens were, and if he
jumps on me, he’s trying to tell me something. Even though he’d just been in
front
I asked if he needed to go outside, and he jumped off. I’ve asked when he
doesn’t, and he stays put. Then I remembered that I’d fed him, and even
though the number one had been dispensed in the front yard, eating was
probably the stimulus he needed for his number 2 out back.

Then there are times when I’m caught up in something, and both dogs have
used water as a signal. Garron goes over and licks the empty bowl to let us
know it needs to be filled. Zane always gets a big drink just before he has
to relieve. In fact, sometimes we have to wait for him at the door to
finish, as it’s always kind of a ritual for him. He has to get a drink
before he relieves if he’s been at home.

I’m just glad he doesn’t bark to let me know some of these things, although
Zane’s barks can serve purposes. Zane sometimes needs more time in the
backyard after Garron has come in. One of his nicknames is Z, so rather than
needing privacy, Zane needs PrivaZ. He lets out one bark to be let in the
house. Then he waits a minute or two, and if we haven’t heard, barks again
just once. He has barked when someone is at the door, and I’m in the shower
with the bathroom door closed. At no other time does he bark at the door, so
I let it be. Besides, it is quite handy! Even though it’s hard not to laugh
when correcting him, it is very funny to hear him bark at the little dogs
next door. He tries not to do so, but their goading him gets to be too much
sometimes. Recently at one of his 2 AM parks, I was on Skype with a friend.
Zane let out these weird rapid barks I’ve only heard when he’s having a
barking argument with the dogs next door. However, there were no dogs next
door. My first inclination was to correct him, but my friend and fellow
handler said, “Woe, that sounded like an alarm bark of some sort to me! I
wouldn’t correct that if he was my dog. I did call him to come in and made
sure all doors were locked.

Sometimes when cane users get all high and mighty about what a bother our
dogs are and how much responsibility they are when one can travel with a
cane without all of that, I know I can’t convince them about the benefits of
traveling with a dog over a cane. When you don’t experience it it’s a losing
battle. But I do remind them of the fringe benefits of having one of these
remarkable creatures. Some of those benefits are things they do without
being asked.
*****
The Seeing Eye on the Silver Screen
Reprinted with Permission from the Seeing Eye

Hollywood’s fascination with Seeing Eye dogs began in 1935, just seven years after Morris Frank and Buddy landed in New York City to introduce the concept of guide dogs to Americans, with a feature film called
“Wings in the Dark.”
.
The Paramount Pictures film starred Cary Grant as an aeronautical engineer who is developing a new system of instruments to enable pilots to “fly blind” in bad weather. But when he is blinded in an accident, Grant has to learn a new kind of blind navigation – holding onto the harness of a Seeing Eye dog!
Over the next 30 years other movies with Seeing Eye dogs would try to cash in on the intriguing concept of guide dogs. Ace the Wonder Dog made his debut in 1938’s
“Blind Alibi”, and Donna Reed appeared in 1942’s “Eyes in the Night,” a movie about a blind detective uncovering a Nazi spy ring with the help of his Seeing Eye dog Friday.

But for most Americans, the concept of a Seeing Eye dog was introduced in 1967 by “Atta Girl, Kelly!” The movie, starring Beau Bridges, Billy Corcoran, and J.D. Cannon, followed a Seeing Eye dog from her days with her puppy raiser through training and ultimately being matched with a man who is blind. It was filmed on The Seeing Eye’s Washington Valley campus and long-time Seeing Eye instructor G. William Debetaz served as a technical adviser. It was shown on three consecutive Sundays – March 5, March 12, and March 19 – on “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.” The film was re-released on DVD in 2009.

“I watched ‘Atta Girl, Kelly!’ when it originally aired, before I lost my sight, and thought it was a good movie – but I never thought I’d need a Seeing Eye dog,” said Jim Kutsch, President & CEO of The Seeing Eye, who would be blinded by a chemical explosion three months after the program aired.

In 1984, Disney made another TV movie, “Love Leads the Way.” This film told the story of The Seeing Eye, with Timothy Bottoms as Morris Frank and Eva Marie Saint as Dorothy Harrison Eustis. In 2005, there was a short-lived ABC series called “Blind Justice,” about a police officer who is blinded in the line of duty but remains on the force after being paired with a guide dog.

Most recently, a guide dog was featured last spring on NBC’s “Growing Up Fisher,” starring J.K. Simmons as a lawyer who is blind and matched with a guide dog. The show was created by D.J. Nash, whose father, Eugene Nash, is a graduate of The Seeing Eye. It was not renewed for this season.
*****
Service Animals and Allergies in the Workplace
By Linda Carter Batiste, J.D. and Tracie Saab, M.S.
Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
(JAN provides free, confidential technical assistance about job

accommodations and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). JAN can be

reached at (800) 526-7234.)

Employers may be faced with difficult issues when the accommodation needs of one employee interfere with the accommodation needs of another employee. One such situation occurs when an employee is allergic to a service animal used by another employee. The following is a summary of accommodations that might meet the needs of both employees:

Eliminate in-person contact:

• Have the employees work in different areas of the building.
• Establish different paths of travel for each employee.
• Arrange for alternatives to in-person communication, such as email, telephone, teleconferencing, and videoconferencing.
• Allow flexible scheduling so the employees do not work at the same time.
• Allow one of the employees to work at home or to move to another location.

2. Minimize exposure if in-person contact cannot be eliminated:

• Provide one of the employees a private/enclosed workspace.
• Use a portable air purifier at each workstation.
• Develop a plan between the employees so they are not using common areas, such as the break room and restroom, at the same time.
• Ask the employee who uses a service animal if he/she is willing to use dander care products on the animal regularly. Most veterinarians and local pet supply stores carry such products.
• Ask the employee who uses the service animal if he/she is willing to temporarily use other accommodations to replace the functions performed by the service animal during meetings attended by both employees.
• Ask the employee who is allergic to the service animal if he/she wants to, and would benefit from, wearing an allergen/nuisance mask. Many local home improvement or hardware stores carry such masks.
• Have the work area, including carpets, cubicle walls, and window treatments cleaned, dusted, and vacuumed regularly.
• Add HEPA filters to the existing ventilation system.
• Allow the employee who has allergies to take periodic rest breaks to go outside, take medication, or to go to the doctor if needed.
• *****
An Opportunity for You to Assist Guide Dog Users, Inc.
by Robert Acosta, GDUI Fundraising Committee Chair

Our summer Drawing is well on its way. At present, we have collected upwards of $800 to benefit Guide Dog Users, Inc. The funds collected from your kind donations will be used to offset the expenses of our national convention and to assist our advocacy committee and our legislative committee. For just a $10 donation, you may be purchasing a winning ticket for one of our valuable prizes.

The Grand Prize is $1,000 in cash donated by Helping Hands for the Blind
First Prize: a $500 gift card
Second Prize: a $500 Silpada Jewelry gift card
Third Prize: a Keurig coffee machine
Fourth Prize: a George Foreman grill with removable plates
Fifth prize: a Skywave radio donated by The C. Crane company plus more prizes to come.

For more information, please call Jane Sheehan at (866) 799-8436. This is an easy way to assist Guide Dog users, Inc., and to perhaps win a valuable prize.
*****
Top Dog Roundup: A Volunteer’s Perspective
by Michelle Grenevitch and Danielle McIntyre

(Michelle and Danielle are the daughters of GDUI Board Member Betsy Grenevitch.)

Michelle: Top Dog was a fun, interesting weekend. At the conference I worked a table and helped with odds and ends to assist those who needed me. I think Top Dog was an experience that I won’t forget. I wanted to go to help blind people with whatever they needed me to do. It always is interesting, because you never know what will happen at a blind conference. It also teaches me to use my hearing instead of my eyes, and teaches me many life lessons that will help me later in life. I have always enjoyed doing community services and helping with any blind organizations in which my mom is involved.

I have helped with different organizations including: Georgia Council of the Blind, Georgia Guide Dog Users, Lions Club, and other city events and groups. I thoroughly enjoy working and helping with these groups. I also have helped at blind day at the capital where a group of blind people go to the Georgia capital and talk to legislators. When I heard about Top Dog I knew it would be fun. I have not done a full conference like it since I was little. The experience at Top Dog was one I am glad I got to have.

It was nice to see all the different guide dogs. I have never seen so many guide dogs in one place. It was definitely crazy, but that’s what was expected with almost a hundred dogs. Events like Top Dog help me to learn patience and learn to be a servant. I have to say that the hotel workers did an excellent job with helping serve breakfast and a million other things. It was definitely fun to spend some time with my mom and sister and help them run the tables.
We had three tables that we were helping run in the exhibit room. We had Georgia Guide Dog Users, The Guide Dog Foundation, and Guide Dog Users, Inc. These are groups that my mom is involved in. Jane [Sheehan] sold toys for GDUI, and we sold soap for Georgia Guide Dog Users. We ran the tables about seven hours both Friday and Saturday. It was almost overwhelming with all the people and dogs in that one room. My sister said that I was tired by the end not physically, but mentally because I had to use my ears more than my eyes which was unusual. It was definitely a different way of doing things. By the end of the weekend I was getting used to it.

It was a fun and exciting trip. I hope all the blind people that went enjoyed it and brought something home from it. It was a great experience that I am glad I was able to go to. Thank you for giving me that opportunity.

+++++

Top Dog Conference: A Different World
Danielle McIntyre
Will you imagine with me for a minute? You have just arrived at your location. The driver tells you the door is just ahead. You grab your bags and reach for your dog’s harness. Once inside, you must locate the counter. No two hotel lobbies are identical. You finally get someone’s attention; you get your room keys. Now you are given directions towards the elevators and your room’s location. Now where is the bed? Or where is the bathroom? That ride was so long I really need to go. Imagine all this happening to you and about 50 others. That’s what Top Dog Conference is all about. Guide dogs and their handlers meeting in a strange place (a hotel), learning new surroundings, and meeting many, many new friends (and puppies).

As with all disabilities, there is a distinct culture that blind people have. Many sighted people see this as strange and foreign to them. But to those within this culture, it is their favorite place. They are with people who fully understand their struggles. There is a bond and connection with those they meet as they find out their similarities and similar struggles in the sighted world.

The unique thing about Top Dog Conference is being able to see so many dogs and handlers together. There are a variety of breeds such as Poodles, black and yellow labs, Collies and German Shepherds. You also get to see how well the dogs are paired with their handlers. These dogs are paired based on some things: walk slow, others are fast paced, some need extra help with tight spaces, or even their height. These dogs watch out for so many things; you would find it difficult as a sighted guide to be quite as efficient as these dogs.

One other area I want to mention in closing is the blind culture. Each blind person has a personality and character qualities very similar to everyone else in the world. They are just more vocal in many ways more than sighted people, because they cannot read body language or facial expressions. But when you sit quietly in a room full of them, their conversations, you will see theirs is just like ours (sighted people). They have up and down days. They make jokes, laugh and even cry. This conference is an eye-opening experience that I feel many sighted people should attend. It will allow them to see that people with disabilities only see their disability as an opportunity to grow and learn in a different way.
*****
GDUI Treasurer’s Report January 1 Through March 23, 2015

Beginning checking account balance as of January 1, 2015:
Capital One: $10,708.86
Carrollton Bank: $2,570.04
Total checking account balance as of January 1, 2015: $13,278.90
First Georgetown $117,007.00

Fund-Raising Income: $2,535.00 as follows:
Silpada jewelry sales: $550.00
Donation, unspecified: $825.00
Donation, un specified, ACB/MMS: $120.00
2015 summer drawing: $1,040.00

Legislative Expense: $196.00, as follows:
Travel : $196.00

Membership income: $2,907.00, as follows:
2015 dues: $990.00
2015 dues, from affiliates: $1,267.00
Life membership dues: $650.00

Membership expenses: $2,185.00, as follows:
Per capita to ACB: $2,185.00

National Office Expenses: $417.04, as follows:
Telephone: $87.04
Credit card processing fees: $311.80
PayPal processing fees: $18.20

Product income: $1,804.00, as follows:
Product sales: $1,684.00
Product shipping: $120.00

Product expenses: $423.94, as follows:
Product mailing and handling: $209.14
Product purchase: $214.80

Publications expenses: $205.75, as follows:
Production, 2014 PawTracks (Winter): $200.00
Mailing: $5.75

Ending checking account balance as of March 23, 2015:
Capital One Bank: $11,556.47
Carrollton Bank: $5,549.70
Total checking account balance as of March 23, 2015: $17,106.17
Total Account Balance First Georgetown as of March 25, 2015 $117,007.00

Respectfully,

Lynn Merrill
Treasurer
*****
GDUI board meeting minutes
November 22, 2014

In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President; Will Burley, First Vice President; Maria Hansen, Second Vice President; Sarah Calhoun, Secretary and Lynn Merrill, Treasurer.
Directors:
Bob Acosta, Vickie Curley, Betsy Grenevitch, Dixie Sanderson & Jane Sheehan
Excused absence: Ann Chiappetta, Director; Pat Hill, Guide Dog School Liaison & Laurie Mehta, Immediate Past President.
Facilitator and guest: Pat Sheehan

President Penny Reeder opened the meeting with welcoming remarks.

Penny Reeder introduced Mr. Pat Sheehan as our meeting facilitator.

An overview of the meeting rules were given in order to complete the agenda in a reasonable time.

Sarah Calhoun took the role call.

The board approved the meeting agenda.

Agenda item:
Sarah Calhoun made a motion to accept the October 17, 2014 GDUI special meeting minutes. The motion was seconded by Maria Hansen. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Editor’s report
Nolan Crabb reported he is looking for more articles to publish in the winter Paw Tracks. He is concerned about copy write issues. Articles can be summarized, provided with a link to the complete article.

Agenda item: Treasurer’s report, Lynn Merrill
GDUI Treasurer’s Report November, 2014
We have made some changes in our accounts since the last report. After careful consideration and comparison of the services offered by Key Bank, Capital One, Chase, and Carrollton; we made the decision to close the Chase accounts (savings and checking) and open an account at Capital One. On October 1, 2014, the Chase accounts were closed and the balances from the checking and savings accounts were transferred to one account at Capital One. The amount transferred was $8,941.95. GDUI now has two active accounts: one at Capital One and one at Carrollton Bank. We also have the investment accounts at First Georgetown. While GDUI has an active PayPal account; it has a zero balance.
Our Office Manager, Jane Sheehan, and I both have debit cards for the Capital One account so Jane can utilize the debit card for matters related to the management of the GDUI office such as product purchases and sales, postage, copying, etc.
I pay our bills from the Carrollton Bank account using their bill payer feature on their on-line banking page. I also make deposits using postage-paid envelopes that Carrollton provided.

Our account balances as of this date are:
Capital One
Checking Account balance $ 9925.95
Carrollton Bank
Checking account balance: $2144.39
First Georgetown $108,826.00
PayPal $ 00
Total: $ 120,896.34

Income and expense sheets from July 2014 to present follow.

Fund-raising income: $189.43
Donations, unspecified: $59.43
Donations, unspecified, MMS: $130.00

Membership income: $1,532.00
Dues: 2014: $420.00
Dues: 2015: $120.00
Dues: 2015, from affiliates: $392.00
Dues: life memberships: $600.00

Membership expenses: $314.98
Supplies and Copying renewal letters: $54.00
Supplies and Mailing voting info to members: $160.98
Voting tabulation: $100.00

National office income: $30.00
Deposit adjustment: $10.00
Reimbursement to GDUI for erroneous credit: $20.00

National office expenses: $1,757.52
Annual incorporation fee: $99.00
Bank fee, cashier’s check: $8.00
Credit card processing fees, Carrollton Bank: $286.08
D&O Insurance: $950.00
Mailing/Copying/Faxing: $21.45
Telephone: $372.99
Reimbursement for erroneous credit: $20.00

Product income: $2,269.43
Product sales: $2,098.43
Product shipping: $171.00

Product expenses: $921.61
Product mailing and handling: $266.30
Product purchase: $635.31
Refund, product sales: $20.00
Program income: $2,694.00
Convention registrations: $690.00
Lunch tickets: $1,484.00
Ticketed events: $370.00
Reimbursement for startup cash for booth: $150.00

Program expenses: $3,140.75
Startup cash for booth: $150.00
Audiovisual equipment: $600.00
Meeting room rental (GDUI suite): $600.00
GDUI lunches: $1300.75
ACB ticket surcharge: $168.00
Product storage/handling: $72.00
Convention presenter fee: $250.00

Publications expenses: $485.00
Production, 2014 PawTracks, spring and fall: $485.00

Website expenses: $4,700.00
Web maintenance: webmaster fee: $1,200.00
Website redesign: $3,500.00

Totals, July 1 through November 17, 2014
Income: $ 5,245.70
Expenses: $11,319.86
Respectfully submitted,
Lynn Merrill, Treasurer, GDUI

Lynn Merrill made a motion to accept the treasurer’s report. The motion was seconded by Maria Hansen. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Web Site Update and Public Relations Committee report
Will Burley gave the following report:
Over the next few days I will be sending you an email with your new GDUI email address(s) and password. Your new address has already been forwarded to your personal address we have on file.

If you are a member of the board and a committee chair, your board email is forwarded to your personal address and your committee email will send to your board email. So, it’ll all get to you in the end!

I will be doing a run through with the webmaster Saturday evening to give the go ahead to make the website live.

The pictures of our 3 products are being taken professionally and we have some historical pictures sprinkled through the website (with alt text), Thanks to Jane for sending that over!

We will have two announcement only list. It will be a true one way list that only Penny can send messages to. Members and friends will not be able to reply back but rather will have to contact any emails in the announcement.

One list will be for members only so the newsletter and other items can be sent. The other list will be for members and friends such as we have now. People will be able to access or sign up for that list by visiting the website. We can move all those signed up to the current announce list with no problem. All will have to verify that they want to be on the list.

We also have a new board list and the chat list which are being created. Info on that will come from our Publications Chairs when that service is ready to start being used.

As a reminder, our new domain is www.GuideDogUsersInc.org . With the contact information needing to have been changed so late, we are erring on the safe side and not transferring www.GDUI.org to the new web host until the New Year. At that point, whether one goes to the new or old domain, it will take them to the same new website. At that point, the old GDUI email addresses will no longer work. Most of us were not using the emails because of massive spam attacks.
Respectfully submitted,
Will Burley

Will Burley made a motion to accept the Web Site and Public Relations Committee reports. The motion was seconded by Dixie Sanderson. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Budget & Finance Committee
Maria Hansen submitted the following report.

We were able to close out the two GDUI accounts that were held at Chase and transfer the proceeds to a Cash Back Business Account that we opened with Capital One. Lynn has provided details in her Treasurer’s report. No decision has yet been made concerning Carrollton.
The Board authorized $3,500 to create a new website and $1,200 for webmaster services. We had to do some juggling of the 2014 Budget (with Board
Approval) to cover this expenditure.
Work will begin on the 2015 budget after the New Year.
Maria Hansen
Chair, Finance/Budget Committee

The budget and finance report was accepted.

Agenda item: Office Manager
Jane Sheehan submitted the following report.
Product sales are going well, and I got all the harness signs from Nick. We’re exploring applying to be a distributor for Central Pet, the company that distributes the collar bells we want. The paperwork has been submitted, and we’re waiting to hear from them. I’ve also got a call into our first distributor to see if they have bells, and I’ll have to get more toys for top dog and have them shipped to the hotel in Charleston.

The renewal letter and application have been photocopied, and I’ll be getting those out by December 1, along with the drawing flyer and the cruise flyer. I still need about a hundred print cruise flyers. I’ll take the leftover cruise and drawing flyers in print and braille to Top Dog.

Betsy Grenevitch made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Dixie Sanderson. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Affiliate Liaison report

Debbie Grubb submitted the following report.
The GDUI Presidents and leaders met via telephone at 11:00 AM and 9:00 PM Eastern Time. The following state affiliates participated in these meetings: Guide Dog Users of Arizona, Guide Dog Users of Florida, Guide Dog Users of Georgia, Guide Dog Users of Kentucky, Pinetree Guide Dog Users (Maine), Guide Dog Users of Massachusetts, Guide Dog Users of New York, Dixieland Guide Dog Users (South Carolina), Guide Dog Users of Texas,
Guide Dog Users of Washington State

This summary will be presented in two parts.

The entire meeting agenda was devoted to the issue of fraudulent service dogs in the public arena.

Part 1.
During the A M meeting, Melanie Brunson, Executive Director of ACB and Eric Bridges who directs the organization’s legislative policy, provided excellent information regarding the many complicated facets of this ever growing problem. Following are the major points that were made during this meeting.

1. The Department of Justice (DOJ) created and enforces service dog regulations. The actual service dog definition is located within the ADA. (The flyer was sent to each affiliate president before the meeting.) Download the U.S. Department of Justice’s ADA handout on service animals located at http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
2. Major difficulties of bringing about resolution of complaints through the Department of Justice are caused by the slowness of the Federal process and the fact that the law lacks regulatory specificity. It is still crucially important that complaints be filed in order to track and rectify the abuse. The ACB National Office will assist with a DOJ complaint.
3. Confusion often arises because there is much disparity between the various laws that govern access, E.G. Housing, transportation (Air Carrier Access Act) and public access (ADA regulated and enforced nationally by the Department of Justice). The housing and transportation regulations are much more lenient than the laws gaining access to the public arena. The problems that we are seeking to resolve regard the fraudulent misrepresentation of pets, therapy and emotional support dogs as service dogs that meet the training and other requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act in public.
4. Businesses have the right to ask what service the dog provides and to ask the person with the dog to leave if it is not under control is aggressive or is disrupting the flow of the programs and services offered.
5. Some sources of this problem are: the prevalence of training gear and official looking identification cards and patches (there is no effective way of ending the sale of these items except through more stringent law that will end their profitability); doctors willingness to diagnose the need for a dog and prescribe one right over the phone; official identification documentation is easily created and sold, therefore, nullifying its efficacy; the fact that emotional support animals that are allowed in airplanes and public housing often are brought into the public arena either with or without the knowledge of the handler that it is against the law.
6. Congress receives complaints about the abuse of the law and the inappropriate behavior of dogs especially in terms of public housing and the Air Carrier Access Act. The congress continues to struggle with how to proceed to resolve these problems because there is no national identification or registry.
7. Melanie and Eric believe that the most efficient resolution of this problem can be found in state law. State law always trumps Federal law if the state law is stronger. Before embarking on the state legislative journey, there must be consensus about what it is that the law must mandate. Having a definition of what is legal, what can be expected and the penalty for violation of the law assists businesses to better understand and carry out their do diligence in terms of service dog access. Melanie pointed out that the ACB office has received several calls from business owners regarding actions they took concerning inappropriate behavior of service dogs. Melanie explained that 95 per cent of the time, the business owners was correct in their decision to ask the handler to remove the dog. She further explained that the Federal Government will take notice as more states pass and enforce service dog laws.
8. Melanie and Eric will study the laws that are already in effect throughout the country and rate them in terms of their being used as a model for future state laws. They will compile a document outlining the points that should be included in a state law.

Part 2

During the PM meeting, Ginger Kutsch, Chair of the GDUI Legislative Committee, presented on this subject. Here are the points that she covered in her excellent presentation.

1. The many news articles that cover this subject do not adequately portray the variety of abuse and do not educate about the trained service dogs that are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
2. There are no equipment requirements in the service dog regulations. The availability of equipment and identification to aid people in the fraudulent presentation of their dogs as service dogs is not considered to be a problem by the Department of Justice. There are no statistics or facts that truly document this problem.
3. Because there is so much confusion between the access rules under housing, transportation and public access (see above) people simply move from housing out into the public arena with their emotional support dogs.
4. Many business owners are confused because people with hidden disabilities do use service dogs.
5. In California, it is a misdemeanor to misrepresent a dog as a service dog.
6. Ginger spoke with a representative from the California Food and Safety Division who explained to her that most businesses are ok with pets in the facility if the dog is under control. Unruly or aggressive dogs are problematic. The outcome that businesses want is to get and to keep customers. Most complaints come from customers and not from the business owners.
7. Educating business owners and providing a legal foundation through a state law on which they can hang their decisions regarding dogs in their facilities will be helpful. Although there will always be difficulties in terms of enforcement, the fact that there is a law gives more authority to signs regarding dogs in the business and to any decisions that may be made regarding acting upon the law by the business owner.
8. Providing businesses information, signs, posters or their prototypes and the DOJ Service Dog Flyer referenced above is extremely beneficial. Ginger explained that there have been no documented unfavorable consequences in California to the service dog signs displayed by businesses.
9. It is important to stress in any educational forum that emotional support dogs were not permitted to enter the public arena under the ADA because dogs in public places must have a high standard of training. There is no training standard for emotional support dogs. Often emotional support dogs are not socialized. Any food facility is not legally mandated to allow entree to any animal except a service dog.
10. Ginger, as Chair of the GDUI Legislative Committee, will contact the ACB National Office in order to collaborate with them on the creation of the document outlining the points to be included in a state service dog law. (See above).

The MP3 files of the November 20 meeting calls will be made available in early December. The agenda of the next meeting of the GDUI affiliate presidents and leaders will be devoted to the points that should be included in a state law and some tools to assist in moving forward with both educational and legislative initiatives.

The next meeting of the GDUI affiliate presidents and leaders will take place on Thursday, January 15, 2015, at 11:00 AM and 9:00 PM Eastern Time via teleconference.
Respectfully submitted,
Debbie Grubb, GDUI Affiliate Liaison

Bob Acosta made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Guide Dog School Liaison report
Dixie Sanderson gave the following report.
The committee is working on the guide dog school survey. Many questions have been added to the survey that has been submitted by members. GDUI past president, Debbie Grubb stated the survey was formed during her administration and is the sole property of GDUI.
Prior to the survey being sent to the guide dog schools, the survey will be submitted to the board for review. The committee is hoping to send the survey to the schools by January 1, 2015.
Sarah Calhoun made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Constitution and Bylaws report
Maria submitted the following report.
Committee members John McCann, Lynn Merrill, Ellen Telker, Rick Roderick, Penny Reeder and I have held a couple meetings.
Our intent is to create a draft document that follows requirements of the DC Nonprofit Code together with best practices while preserving key elements of GDUI’s organizational and cultural history.
We plan to have a draft ready for comment and review early in the New Year.
At that time, and possibly sooner via our new website, we will welcome member participation and respond to suggestions and concerns.
This time, there will not be an “up or down” vote on the bylaws as a whole.
Voting on the new bylaws and voting on Director Positions will be held at the same time during the May election.
Maria Hansen
Chair, Constitution & Bylaws Committee
Betsy Grenevitch made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Convention Program report
Joel Isaac gave the following report.
There will be two GDUI non-ticket events during the convention, the breakfast club and the hotel orientation. It will be important to get a good count of everyone attending the events, because we have trainers from The Seeing Eye, Guide Dogs for the Blind and Guide Dogs of the Desert who have volunteered to assist during the events.
To find out how many participants will attend either one or both events during the convention, the committee will post a message to the GDUI chat list, submit an article to Paw Tracks and telephone members.

The Convention Program report was accepted.

Agenda item: Publications Committee
Ann Chiappetta submitted the following report.
November 2014 GDUI Publications Committee Report
Compiled by Ann Chiappetta and Michael Malver, Co-Chairs
We are very pleased to announce that alongside Dixie Sanderson and Ken Metz, our newest member is Deanna Noriega. Deanna is a lifetime GDUI member, a long-time ACB member, a published writer and poet of the highest caliber and her expertise and talent will provide GDUI with integrity and creativity. Welcome Deanna.

The document revision project committee met on Thursday, November 6 from 9-10 pm. The minutes were sent ahead to both the GDUI board and chat lists. A much condensed version is at the end of this report.
Facebook and twitter: we are in close contact with Penny and Will on this process; we are awaiting the intellectual property claims filed with FB and Twitter. If we do not hear from them by the end of the year, we will open new accounts with different names for GDUI.
List migrations are forthcoming and we are working with Will and the webmaster on this.
Chat list posting maximum Poll: The results are that the majority would like the posting limits to remain as they are at 10 posts allowed per day per person.

10 posts per day limit had 16 votes
7 posts per day limit had 6 votes
5 posts per day had 14 votes

Collaborations:
Helping the membership committee with written materials for the upcoming Top Dog conference and other membership documents for membership packets.
Press release: fraudulent/imposter service animal’s press release ready and waiting for website.
Press release has been submitted to this issue of PT.
Helping the fundraising committee with flyers and articles.
Guest blog post to disability.gov about pet dogs posing as service dogs. It is scheduled for 11/21/14, just one day after the submission of this report. Annie will update all when she gets the link, etc.
November 6, 2014 Publications Committee Document Revision Report and Minutes
Committee call held Thursday, November 6 from 9-10 pm eastern
Document assignments Jeff L: Guide Dogs in the workplace Denise D. will assist revising
Deanna continue on Making Impressions as discussed
Denise will continue with tip sheets as discussed
Leading the Way: Annie
FAQ Etiquette: Patty Fletcher
Street Smarts: when guide dog teams hit the road (explains how the team navigates street crossings and other obstacles. Recommendation: ask instructors like Lucas frank of SE and Graham Buck of GEB for revisions because the integrity of document is professionally crafted by instructors in feel and flavor and we want to keep it this way while also updating it.
Moving Forward (gen information about GDUI) give to membership committee to see what they want to do with it.
Braille readers will proof for Braille accuracy and sighted volunteers will also assist with proofing for visual accuracy. Documents could be offered for download in both BRF and .Docx once up on website.
Document style – No bullets in Braille copy
To use a “dash” to replace bullets
Moving to a new line or numbering.
Two formats with print and Braille friendly version and print friendly
Denise: Police officer tip sheet to be expanded and include emergency responders
Next meeting Date December 6, 2014 9 PM Eastern time.

Respectfully submitted,
Ann Chiappetta, chair

Bob Acosta made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Maria Hansen. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Membership report
Betsy Grenevitch submitted the following report.
Membership Committee Update
I want to take this opportunity to thank the members on the membership committee for their participation in our various projects. The members are:
Lynn Coats, Katie Frederick, Alex Hall, Pamela Hill, Mary Beth Metzger, Lilian Scaife, and Jane Sheehan.

We have several items that have been completed and others close to completion.

The completed ones are: the letter to new members, the renewal letter, and the member application which is for both new and returning members.

The items that are not far from completion are the brochure to potential members and the letter to companies inquiring as to whether they would be interested in giving discounts to our members.

We are still in the process of locating a person/company to produce our business cards. We are hoping to have these cards available at Top Dog which takes place the last weekend of January.

We have now decided what we will put in our packets and will be working on getting all of the materials together so that they will be available when needed. We will be having packets for potential members, new members, and of course renewal packets. The renewal packets will differ depending on what is going on at the time of renewal of membership.

There will be further discussion in January concerning life mem errs and how to recognize their contribution to GDUI.

Again, thank you committee members for all of your contributions thus far.
Our goal is to make our entire members feel welcome and to help them feel a part of our organization.

Submitted by membership chair
Betsy Grenevitch

Sarah Calhoun made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Legislative Committee report
Ginger Kutsch, chair of the Legislative Committee participated in the November 2014, affiliate leaders meeting. She discussed the GDUI policy statement on the misrepresentation of fake service animals. When the affiliate leaders meet again, Ginger will discuss proposed legislation in states that don’t have legislation that addresses that issue.

Melanie Brunson and Eric ** with American Council of the Blind (ACB) are very interested in the research GDUI has done on that topic. They will look at the various state laws and assist GDUI’s legislative committee in writing a model law that will be propose to our affiliates and states who don’t have legislation in the event they would like to work on that issue.

The legislation report was accepted.

Agenda item: Advocacy Committee report
Becky Barnes-Davidson submitted the following reports.

Advocacy report:
We talked about an incident where a guide dog handler was refused access to a taxi in Portland, OR and documented the incident with his cell phone camera. Ken will follow up with him to do an interview and create a PawTracks article.
We are working on writing a piece about out-of-control dogs as it relates to denial of access. The intent is to help businesses understand some of the circumstances under which the law allows them to deny access.
A question was asked about what happens to someone who has no one to care for the dog while they’re in treatment? Hospital staff is not held responsible. One could call hospital volunteer services to see if they could help. People need to think about being prepared for an emergency where the dog needs to be cared for. Dixie serves on the DAPP Committee and will bring this issue to them for consideration.
Kiddle’s Ordinance: We discussed information received re a guide dog that became ill in a restaurant and ultimately died before she could be taken to a vet, a police officer refused to transport the dog to a vet. Luz Rosenfeld and others have created an ordinance in their town and are interested in making it a national law. Becky agreed to reach out to Luz and ask her exactly what she envisions and whether she’d consider being interviewed for an article in PawTracks. The email has been sent to Luz, now awaiting a response.
There have been 2 reported incidents, one came from a call to the GDUI line, and a dog attack in CA. Ken assisted in the positive resolution of that case. The other is ongoing issues with medical facility and transportation in the Tacoma, WA area. That was referred to WCB and GDUWS.
Becky Barnes Davidson, chair

The advocacy report was accepted.

Agenda item: Special Concerns Committee
Vickie Curley submitted the following report.
Hello everyone, First of all, I want to thank all of you for your kindness to me as I have gone through Valor’s Cancer surgery. I see the light at the end of the tunnel and Valor and I will be walking out on the other side his harness in my hand very soon. Thank you so very much. Going through this trial with Valor is a very vivid reminder as to why the Empathizer team is so very important to GDUI members and friends. Our lives with our dogs can be wonderful one day and ripped apart the next. This brings me to what I feel is very terrific news with regard to the Empathizer team. We have grown to a number that I feel will be able to handle whatever our membership should need at any given time. I am pleased to share that we have been joined by three wonderful men who will bring a man’s prospective to the team. Many of our team members have already worked on this team so this will be just a continuation of their grate work. We are also blessed to have several individuals
Who have counseling experience that will be able to provide training for our team in the future? Our team has or soon will be submitting short bios to Nolan to be featured in either the winter or the spring addition of Paw tracks. This will help our members to get to know those team members whom they may not be quite as familiar with. Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday the 19th of November at 7, pm eastern, 6, pm, Central, 5, pm, Mountain and 4 PM Pacific. I am so thrilled to share that after a very short meeting we will be joined by Michelle Drolett who was employed for over 24 years by the Seeing Eye. Many of those years were spent as an advocate for students in class as well as graduates in the field. She will share briefly what she found was the most important with regard to talking with other dog guide handlers and how we, as empathizers can be the most help. I invite anyone who is interested in hearing Michelle to join us then. The call in number for the Meeting is 712-432-1212 and the participant access code is 746537206 followed by the number sign. For those who may not be able to attend the meeting, the number to listen back to the Recording of the meeting is 712-432-1219 you will use the same code. I do hope you can join us. In conclusion, I could not be happier with how things are going with this grate team and I have to say that GDUI’s members and friends are in grate hands.
Respectfully submitted Vickie Curley, Special concerns committee chair.

Maria Hansen made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program
Sarah Calhoun submitted the following report.
Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program (DAPP) November 2014 Report.
The DAPP team has seven dedicated members from coast to coast. Beginning from the east to west they are:
Lynn Merrill, Maine; Dixie Sanderson, Connecticut; Ann Chiappetta, New York; Sarah Calhoun, Missouri; Ron Brooks, Arizona; Bob Acosta and Ken Metz, California.

During our October 2014 meeting, the committee revised the name from Emergency Disaster Financial Assistance (EDFA) to: Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program (DAPP).

We have posted three informational articles to the GDUI Email lists and two will be published in the winter Paw Tracks.
1. Details on the DAPP program. – posted to lists and submitted to Paw Tracks.
2. “Winter Survival Guide”, written by Lauren Ross, Field Service Manager Representative for Guide Dogs for the Blind. – posted to lists and submitted to Paw Tracks.
Note: Permission has been granted from Guide Dogs for the Blind to publish article.
3. Webinar information sponsored by Pet Poison Help Line to be held on December 2, 2014. – posted to lists.

We have established a method in contacting other committee members to discuss a request.
Prior to distribution of funds, status of the applicant’s membership will be verified with Jane Sheehan.
Financial assistance of $50.00 will be in the form of a pre-paid Mastercard.
The DAPP benefit information will be included in membership packets.
Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) information is forwarded to all DAPP committee members, keeping us informed of catastrophic situations.
DAPP information will be posted on GDUI’s new web site.
After the web site is up and running, we will have a separate Email address: dapp@gdui.org.
We are researching survival kits for members to purchase.

We hope our GDUI members don’t find themselves in a catastrophic situation with their guide dog, but if they do the GDUI DAPP team is here to help.

Respectfully submitted, Sarah Calhoun, chair

Will Burley Would like to broadcast a Public Service Announcement (PSA) on the American Council of the Blind (ACB) radio about the Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program. He would like to release other public service announcements with the other committees as well.

Bob Acosta made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Maria Hansen. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Voting Task Force report
Will Burley and Jane Sheehan are researching changing GDUI’s current telephone voting system to another company. They will submit their information to the board well before the May 2015 elections.

Agenda item: Fund Raising Committee report
Bob Acosta submitted the following report.
November 14, 2014

GUIDE DOG USERS, INC.
FUND-RAISING COMMITTEE

REPORT FOR THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Although our Committee does all that we can to disseminate recordings of our meetings and the minutes of our meetings, we are also pleased to present this report.

Dear Colleagues:
The Fund-Raising Committee has been a hard-working and enthusiastic group working on behalf of our membership.

At present, we are involved with six currently active fund-raising projects.

1. The Silpada Jewelry Party led by our very capable Board Member, Vickie Curley, is well on its way. This party will occur online through December 1, 2014. Vickie is donating all of the profits from this event to GDUI, and the Fund-Raising Committee publicly thanks her for this unselfish kindness.
2. The Summer Drawing will be held at the luncheon of the GDUI National Convention on July 8, 2015. We officially begin the drawing on December 1, 2014. We have gathered several prizes to present for the drawing. We are selling chances for $10 each. Every donor will be sent a note giving them their numbers and acknowledging receipt of their donation with a hearty thank you. We shall be sending hard-copy flyers to every member of the Board soon.
3. The Cruise to the Caribbean December 5-12, 2015, has now been approved. We are advertising this event in Paw Tracks, Newsreel, The Braille Forum and other magazines in order to reach out to the blind community as well as to our sighted friends.
4. Due to the initiative of Michael Malver, our committee is preparing a letter to be sent to Debbie Grub to be disseminated to our affiliates regarding the sale of gift cards as a possible fund-raising project for them.
5. We are doing all we can to encourage our members to contribute to the Monthly Monetary Support Program. The drive is in full swing, and we hope it will be successful.
6. Finally, it is the hope of the Fund-Raising Committee that our Budget and Finance Committee will appropriate some funding to employ an Accountant to prepare the proper 990 Forms for 2014. In order to seek grants, we must have these forms along with a complete financial report.

We wish to conclude this Report by wishing all of you the most joyous holiday season. This has been a great year for Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Submitted by,
Robert Acosta Chair
Fund-Raising Committee

Maria Hansen made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Betsy Grenevitch. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Old business
Department of Transportation Conference report, submitted by Becky Barnes-Davidson:
There were close to 200 people there representing the Department of Transportation (DOT), the airlines (Southwest and JetBlue were most prominent but United and American were there and there may have been others), airports and consumers. Janine Stanley was there along with Eric Bridges and me. There was a fairly large contingent from the local NFB as well, so people who are blind or have low vision were well represented.

The morning consisted of 3 panel discussions, 1 panel of consumers, one of airline reps and one of DOT staff. The focus was on getting updates and talking about issues that either are new or still need work. There wasn’t anything really new that came from these discussions.

The afternoon consisted of 3 breakout sessions, one on service animals, one on technology and one on wheelchair stowage. The common thread through all of them was the need for more efficient assistance at airports. The service animal session also included the discussion of airports providing relief areas in the secured area and the DOT reps in all 3 of those sessions indicated that this is a priority.

All participants attended all 3 breakouts, we stayed in our assigned room and the presenters moved from room to room. The technology group talked a lot about both inaccessible kiosks and inaccessible flight entertainment systems. The standard answer applies, “we’re working on it”.

The wrap-up was focused on getting people to present ideas and to file complaints.
Actually, the importance of filing complaints under the ACAA was another common thread through the day.
The topic of inconsistent service on airplanes was discussed e.g. where we can sit with our dogs, where their paws need to be, etc. The Department of Transportation responded by saying that is not appropriate for the airline crew members to make such statements. If you are faced with a problem you can insist on speaking to the Complaint Resolution Officer (CRO) before the aircraft departs. Every airline has a CRO. You should also complain to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Submitted by Becky Barnes-Davidson

Will Burley stated, he is always looking for blog articles for the new GDUI web site. If anyone is interested in submitting an article, you can send it via Email to Will Burley at:
vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org, with the word “Blog” in the subject line.

Agenda item: New business
Jane Sheehan is gathering information on a lady who makes a portrait of your dog from a picture that you send her.

The board is concerned of the lack of time and participation by Laurie Mehta, Immediate Past President in board matters. During the last nine board meetings, Laurie has attended one-half of one meeting. She does not participate in matters that can be voted on via the board Email list, which would help reduce the need to hold special meetings. All board members understand family matters take precedence over anything else. We would understand in the need for her to resign her position as a board member.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary

+++++

GDUI Special Board Meeting January 16, 2015

In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President; Will Burley, First Vice President; Maria Hansen, Second Vice President; Sarah Calhoun, Secretary and Lynn Merrill, Treasurer.
Directors:
Bob Acosta, Vickie Curley, Betsy Grenevitch, Dixie Sanderson & Jane Sheehan
Facilitator and guest: Pat Sheehan
Excused absence: Ann Chiappetta, Director
Unexcused absence: Laurie Mehta, Immediate Past President.

President Penny Reeder opened the meeting with welcoming remarks.

The roll call was taken by Sarah Calhoun. A quorum was present with ten board members in attendance, one excused absence and one unexcused absence.

Agenda item:
Membership committee plan to purchase and distribute business cards.

Betsy Grenevitch explained the proposed business cards will have GDUI’s name, address, toll-free phone number and web site information in braille and print. The cards will be used as handouts during Top Dog, the ACB Convention and given to people who would like to join a guide dog organization.

The membership committee recommends ordering 500 business cards at a cost of up to $100.00. The braille portion on the business cards will be done by National Braille Press at a cost of $40.00 which includes shipping. The printing portion on the business cards by Staples will cost $40.00 which includes shipping.

Bob Acosta made a motion to approve the concept of the business cards. The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried with one abstention.

President Reeder asked the membership committee to have the publications committee look at the final design of the business card including the GDUI logo prior to placing the order to make sure the spacing and design are appropriate.

Agenda item:
Jane Sheehan made a motion to spend up to $100.00 using the GDUI Capitol One debit card to ship products and office supplies to Top Dog in Charleston, South Carolina. After Top Dog the unsold products and office supplies will be shipped back to Jane’s house in Maryland.
The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Additional business:
Vickie Curley will mail the $500.00 check to treasurer, Lynn Merrill from the Silpada Jewelry fund raising party.

Lynn Merrill reminded the committee chairs to submit their proposed 2015 budget to her by January 24, 2015.

President Reeder reminded the committee chairs to submit their reports to the board by January 19, 2015.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary
+++++

GDUI Board Meeting Minutes
January 24, 2015

In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President; Will Burley, First Vice President; Maria Hansen, Second Vice President; Sarah Calhoun, Secretary; and Lynn Merrill, Treasurer.
Directors:
Bob Acosta, Ann Chiappetta, Vickie Curley, Betsy Grenevitch, Dixie Sanderson and Jane Sheehan
Debbie Grubb, Affiliate Liaison; Pat Hill, Guide Dog School Liaison; Pat Sheehan, ACB Board Representative and facilitator;
Excused absence: Nolan Crabb, Paw Tracks Editor
Unexcused absence: Laurie Mehta, Immediate Past President.

The meeting was opened by President Penny Reeder with welcoming remarks.

The roll call was taken by Sarah Calhoun.

Agenda item Approval of agenda:
Vickie Curley made a motion to accept the agenda as presented. The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item Approval of minutes.: Sarah Calhoun made a motion to approve the November 22, 2014 board meeting minutes. The motion was seconded by Maria Hansen. Motion carried.

Sarah Calhoun made a motion to approve the January 16, 2015 special board meeting minutes. The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Motion carried.

Agenda item Preliminary Business and Announcements:
President Reeder announced the Town Hall Meeting will be held on Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. EST.

The new GDUI weekly telephonic announcements are released each Tuesday by Bob Acosta via the chat lists.

The Constitution and Bylaws Committee is rewriting the Bylaws in order for GDUI to conform to the D.C. non-profit code. The proposed Bylaws will be submitted to all members for their review and comments prior to voting in May 2015.

Agenda item Appointment and Approval of Chair of Nominating Committee:
President Reeder appointed Sarah Calhoun as the chair of the Nominating Committee.

During the elections in May 2015, there will be two director positions to vote on as well as ratification of the Bylaws.

Bob Acosta made a motion to approve the appointment. The motion was seconded by Dixie Sanderson. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item Discussion of the Need to Define GDUI Processes:
President Reeder stated, since the new board took office in July 2014, there have been a few instances where board members have been confused about what GDUI processes are for completing various work and projects by board and committee members. Example: What is the responsibility of a committee(s) or person(s) to accomplish certain tasks?

President Reeder asked each board member, committee chair and liaison to begin to write down what you think your responsibilities in respect to GDUI are and the process and procedures in completing your tasks.

Ann Chiappetta made a motion to table the discussion regarding processes to the board lists for further discussion at the next board meeting. The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item Request of Funding for GDUI President Reeder to Attend the February ACB Presidents’ Meeting and Legislative Seminar:

Motion submitted by Lynn Merrill, GDUI Treasurer:
I would like to make the following motion at the GDUI Board meeting on Saturday, January 24, 2015:
That funds be appropriated for President Reeder to attend the 2015 ACB Presidential Meeting and Legislative Seminar in the amount of $196.00.
Should the motion be seconded, I will provide the following details.
The events are on Sunday, February 22 and Monday, February 23, 2015.
President Reeder should attend the Presidential meeting on Sunday as well as the Legislative Seminar on Monday. The cost for registration is $35.00, one meal is $15.00, room is $132.00 and travel is approximately $14.00 for a total of $196.00. I recommend the expense be taken from the telephone expense line item and a new line item be added for this expense. The current amount budgeted for the telephone expense is $1200.00 and since we have moved our account to Verizon, our expenses have been approximately only $25.00 each month.
Respectfully,
Lynn Merrill

The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item Voting Task Force Update:
Will Burley submitted the following voting system report:

We have found and have heard from members that there is a desire and need to better handle GDUI elections.

We found two companies which offer similar systems, and we are testing one that offers what we need rather than the one that offers many bells and whistles that are not needed.

The system offers:

• Online voting
• Telephone voting
• The ability to change vote before locking the vote
• Email or text message notification of ballot
• Third-party tallying of raw vote totals and
• Third-party assignment of voter ID numbers.

The tests are happening and should be completed by the board meeting.

This committee’s purpose was to find a system that is accessible and gets a third party involved to offer as much trust in the elections process as possible.

Report submitted by:
Will Burley

Will Burley stated, based on 500 members the cost of this voting system would be $1,400.00.

The matter of this voting system will be brought forth to the board at a later date.

Agenda item Treasurer’s report:
Lynn Merrill submitted the following Treasurer’s Report:

January 16, 2015
This data is for the period November 17, 2014 through January 18, 2015:

Beginning balances as of November 17, 2014:
Capital One Bank $9,925.95
Carrollton Bank $2,144.39
Total checking balance as of November 17, 2014: $12,070.34
First Georgetown $108,826.00

Income for this period totaled $2,428.00 broken down as follows:
Fundraising income from unspecified donations $100.00
Fundraising income from the 2015 summer drawing $500.00
Membership income from 2015 dues $1,020.00
Membership income from life memberships $525.00
Income from product sales $235.00
Income from product shipping paid by customers $48.00

Expenses for the period totaled $683.80 broken down as follows:
National office expense from PayPal processing fees $18.55
National office expense from credit card processing fees $206.63
National office expense from telephone line charges $45.17
Product expense: product purchases $312.95
Product expense from reimbursement to customers $20.00
Product expense from product mailing and handling $74.75
Publications expense: mailing labels to PawTracks producer $5.75

Balances as of January 18, 2015:
Capital one Bank $11,034.45
Carrollton Bank $2,780.09

Total checking account balance as of January 18, 2015: $13,814.54
First Georgetown balance as of December 31, 2014: $110,437.25

Respectfully,
Lynn Merrill

Ann Chiappetta made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report. The motion was seconded by Maria Hanson. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item Budget and Finance Committee Report:
Maria Hansen submitted the following Budget and Finance Committee Report:

The Budget/Finance Committee met on January 4, 2015. Present were Lynn, Sarah, Penny, Jane and Maria.
The Committee voted to approve an interim budget that mirrors that of 2014 until the 2015 budget is finalized and approved.
Lynn is gathering budget request information from the committee chairs and Jane is plugging in numbers. Sarah will be heading up the budget process.
We went over our current inventory of products and, because more money had been spent on bells than had been foreseen, we authorized additional money to purchase toys for Top Dog.
At the January 24th Board meeting, we will request that the Board appropriate funds for Penny to attend the ACB Presidents’ Meeting and Legislative Seminar in February.
We are still looking into credit card processing options.
Maria Hansen
Chair, Budget/Finance Committee

Ann Chiappetta made a motion to accept the Budget and Finance Committee report. The motion was seconded by Dixie Sanderson. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item Convention Program Committee:
Lilian Scaife submitted the following 2015 GDUI Program Convention Report:

Dear GDUI Board,
This report includes an update on the tasks associated with the 2015 GDUI Convention.
GDUI Draft Convention Schedule:
• Auction Letters are complete.
• In collaborating with the Guide Dog Trainers, there will be two days of hotel orientation: Sunday, July 5, 2015 & Monday July 6, 2015.
• Times will be determined in tandem with the Trainers.
• The Program Committee will be working with the Public Relations (PR)
Committee to work on an introductory release about our 2015 GDUI Dallas Convention.
Programs Committee Budget:
We have submitted our 2015 budget.
• GDUI Affiliate Liaison, Pat Hill and board member, Dixie Sanderson will be bridging communication between GDUI and the Guide Dog Schools.
• Working with GDUI webmaster on setting up a “GDUI Convention Survey”
for feedback on the Convention from attendees.
• Ginger Kutsch, Chair of the Legislation Committee & Becky Barnes-Davidson, Chair of the Advocacy Committee will provide an insightful presentation on issues pertaining to current developments in legislation & advocacy.
• Token of appreciation for Trainers & Convention Guest Speakers.
• Currently in search of themes for the convention. Currently, we have
two candidates: 1. “Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs” (Annie) 2. “Ruff and Ready” (Penny)

I would like to thank the Auction, Program, and Chair Committee members who have assisted me in working on all of the above. I am very grateful for the expertise and time devoted for this upcoming GDUI Convention.

Sincerely,
Lilian Scaife, Program Committee Chair

Vickie Curley made a motion to accept the Convention report. The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Lilian Scaife provided the following draft of the 2015 GDUI Convention program.

Draft of Convention Program schedule:

Sunday, July 5, 2015
11:00 a.m.: GDUI Suite: Will Open
Helping Your Guide Dog Adjust to Convention Life Session “If this is your first convention or the first in a long time, this is a great place to learn tips for making the chaos of convention a less stressful experience for you and your dog. Presenters will share tips on dealing with all of those long mobility canes slashing back and forth at the level of your dogs’ heads, coping with the relief areas, finding help when you need it, meeting and greeting people and other dogs, and taking advantage of the respite offered in the GDUI Suite.”
12:00 p.m.: GDUI Suite: Hotel Orientation Link Up with guide dog instructors for an orientation to all the places you will want to find around the hotel.
(To Be Determined)
12:00 p.m.: GDUI Suite Opens
The GDUI suite is a great place to meet friends and give your dog (and
yourself) a break! Don’t forget, our harness pouches, our harness signs, and our 30 year anniversary Compact Disks will all be available for purchase.

• GDUI Auction will be displayed and bidding may commence.
• Vet Tech – Days & Time slot for nails and ear cleaning. (To Be
Determined)

GDUI Suite hours are: Sunday, July 5th noon to 5:00 PM; Monday and Tuesday, July 6th & 7th, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. July 8th, Wednesday noon.

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.: Meet and greet members of the GDUI Board of Directors at the GDUI suite:
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.: GDUI Suite –
An introduction to products and services in the GDUI suite; Hear from Jane Sheehan GDUI Office Manager about what the Suite has to offer and an introduction to the Auction items by Lillian Scaife, GDUI Program Chair.
3:00 p.m.: GDUI Suite: Another session of “Helping Your Guide Dog Adjust to Convention Life Session”
If this is your first convention or the first in a long time, this is a great place to learn tips for making the chaos of convention a less stressful experience for you and your dog. Presenters will share tips on dealing with all of those long mobility canes slashing back and forth at the level of your dogs’ heads, coping with the relief areas, finding help when you need it, meeting and greeting people and other dogs, and taking advantage of the respite offered in the GDUI Suite.
4:00 p.m.: GDUI Suite- Another Hotel Orientation with Instructors:
Link up with guide dog instructors for an orientation to all the important places you will need to find around the hotel.

Monday, July 6, 2015 (Meet in the Lobby)
6:50 a.m. – 8:20 a.m.: GDUI Breakfast Club
Breakfast with your GDUI family
1:15 p.m.: GDUI Opening Session, Program room:
1:15 p.m.: Introductions, announcements, & Affiliate roundup
2:00 p.m.: Guide Dog School Updates:
What’s going on at the guide dog schools? What are they planning for the future? What are the qualifications that prospective students need to meet?
Are there innovations coming down the pike and what ought we to know about them?
3:30 p.m.: Break
3:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.: Self familiarization to new environments:
What should we be aware of when we enter a brand new place we’ve never been before? Presenter will be Mr. Rod Haneline CPSO, from Leader dog (To Be Determined).
.Phone: 248-651-9011
.Toll Free: 888-777-5332

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.: (To Be Determined) Recognizing the Trainers – After program session??
7:00 p.m.: (To Be Determined)

TUESDAY, July 7, 2015 Lobby
6:50 a.m. – 8:20 a.m.: GDUI Breakfast Club
Breakfast with your GDUI family
1:15 p.m.: Program room: Announcements
1:30 p.m.:
3:30 p.m.: Break
3:40 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.:
4:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: A look at what is happening in Legislation and
Advocacy:

We have left your evening free so you can take advantage of other events at the ACB convention.

WEDNESDAY, July8, 2015, Lobby
6:50 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.: GDUI Breakfast Club:
Breakfast with your GDUI family.
12:15 p.m.: Program room – GDUI Lunch $?? ($??) & Presenter (To Be
Determined):
Join the GDUI family for lunch,
about those GDUI Awards? Stay tuned.
Fundraising Committee Raffle Drawing of Winners
2:45 p.m.: Program room – GDUI Caucus
Meet the candidates for ACB office, and we will make time available for any additional or unfinished GDUI business.
7:30 p.m.: GDUI Suite:
End of draft program.

Agenda item Public Relations Report:
Will Burley submitted the following Public Relations Report:

The Committee has offered GDUI state affiliates the opportunity to utilize the GDUI blog for promotion of certain affiliate events (e.g. membership renewals, national interest events, etc.). Blog entries should be no more than 500 words and should include pertinent information about the event. Questions and entries should be sent to pr@guidedogusersinc.org.

The Committee will be working with the Programs Committee to release an introductory release about the 2015 GDUI Dallas Convention.

Information is being placed on the website as it comes in. New information that is being placed, and will most likely be up by the meeting includes:

• PawTracks newsletters;
• Approved Meeting Minutes;
• GDUI products; and
• Guide dog schools information

There was an issue with one of the email addresses getting through. We have done a report with the web host provider and things appear to be working fine from the hosting side of things. We are awaiting the response from the effected person’s ISP to fully release messages from the domain. At present, most messages are being released but there are a few which are not.

It has been reported that some members have experienced delays in messages showing up on the email lists. We have submitted a report to the web host provider, after checking all list settings, and we await a response. One should be here by the board meeting.

Motion carried accepting the Public Relations Report.

Agenda item Editor’s report:
Nolan Crabb submitted the following Editor’s Report.

If I may begin by stating the obvious, let me point out that the winter issue is out, and the deadline for the spring issue is February 1.

I’ve had almost unrelenting computer problems since prior to Thanksgiving, but the Band-Aids and quick fixes I’ve repeatedly applied over the past several months seem to at last be working better than Band-Aids and quick fixes. The problems are in no way viral in nature, but have been mechanical and therefore more intermittent and difficult to pinpoint and remedy.

I realize that reliability and adherence to deadlines is crucial if this board is to demonstrate its ongoing forward movement of the affiliate, and my lengthy delay in producing the winter issue hardly demonstrates promptness in terms of production. I’m also keenly aware that the most recent audio edition had some volume variation issues and some background noise.
The reasons for that are more arcane than this report needs to address, but they relate to the intermittent drive issues I’ve dealt with and the need to re-record pieces sometimes in rather strange places like my daughter’s basement on a Christmas Eve in an attempt to get things to save while the drive was temporarily lucid, if you will, and working properly.

I’ve come to enjoy the challenges and numerous rewards that editing this newsletter provides, and it’s my hope that this board will permit me to continue in my current capacity. That said, I understand completely concerns regarding deadlines, and I’m certainly willing to step aside if you believe that the organization is best served by finding someone else to do this. I would hope that, in your considerations, you would take into account the fact that I sincerely look forward to working on the next issue.
This newsletter is not one in which anyone with at least two working brain cells will find uninteresting. Our subject matter is highly relevant, the message and tone the newsletter has historically purveyed is vital to the success of blind and visually impaired guide dog users everywhere and there are as-yet unexplored stories out there that need to be written. For example, I’d love to see a regular piece regarding emergency preparedness–a personal quest of mine for years. I’m still far from being as prepared as I’d like to be, and I think there are probably a good number of avenues of that topic that are worthy of the newsletter’s time and space especially related to guide-dog specific issues.

We will adhere to a spring deadline of 1 February, and I’m hopeful that you won [‘t operate under the false assumption that I have a large backlog of pieces crying for publication. No, you shouldn’t misinterpret that as an attempt on my part to convince you to do all the legwork and do the editor’s job; I just want to ensure that a sense of false security and complacence doesn’t enable us to determine not to write something or suggest something.
So, for example, if someone wants to fling a Top Dog roundup piece my direction upon return from said conference, I’d be rather open to receive it and anything else you think has merit.

Finally, please know that I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity. I’ve every certainty that the president had a rather significant number of people upon whom she could have called last summer to edit this publication. The fact that she chose me is both genuinely humbling and gratifying. Aside from the editing and compilation, I’ve found the unique challenges of creating an audio newsletter of the length of PawTracks to be tremendously exhilarating, tapping into a different side of the creative process from that used to edit the written part. I’m keenly aware that I’m not even in the same universe as the professional audio Ray submitted last summer as a proposed sample, but perhaps we’re saving the affiliate a dime or two by doing it this way, and it’s my hope that the savings mostly offsets the difference in the reality that we have and the proposed audio samples some of us heard last summer.

Submitted January 19, 2015
Nolan Crabb

Agenda item Product & Office Manager Report:
Jane Sheehan submitted the following Office Manager and Product Report’s:

This is a combined Office Manager and products report.

All 2015 renewal notices have been sent out, and responses are coming in, some online, some via check and some over the phone with a credit card. We have 255 members for 2015. This includes 123 life members, and 132 annual 2015 memberships, 49 of which are from the Washington state affiliate. I’ve not heard from any other affiliates, but expect to receive their lists soon.

Things are moving along with the updated ACB AMMS system. I hope to get training on that soon so I can start entering members into the system before the March 15 deadline.

Just as a point of interest, our membership for 2015 includes 3 members from Canada, one from Malaysia and one from Australia. We have a person from Austria who has submitted an application online, but hasn’t paid as yet. She may be doing an article for PawTracks about guide dog users and training in Austria.

As for products, we’re gearing up for Top Dog and our booth. We have 29 toys left from prior purchases. I have ordered 56 more from our distributor. The total should be under $300 for the new toys. The finance committee permitted me to spend up to $400, so we’re under budget. We will have harness signs, pouches, the 30th anniversary CD, water bottles/bowls, and various other items, as well as cruise and drawing flyers to hand out. I’m looking forward to meeting and working with Betsy at our booth.

I plan to ship our products to Charleston via UPS next Friday, and need to know if I can use the GDUI debit card for the shipment to and from the hotel. I do think GDUI should pay for this expense.

I’ve received the winter 2014 issue of PawTracks from Nolan, and plan to get the Drop Box link out to those members with e-mail addresses by tomorrow. I’ve sent the mailing labels to Ray for the cassette version.

Jane Sheehan, Office Manager

Ann Chiappetta made a motion to accept the Office Manager and Product Report’s. The motion was seconded by Betsy Grenevitch. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item Affiliates Liaison Report:
Debbie Grubb submitted the following Affiliates Liaison Report:

GDUI’s affiliates are recapturing the sense of community and collaboration of times passed. I received many positive responses to the training sessions presented by Melanie Brunson, Eric Bridges and Ginger Kutsch on the fraudulent service animal problems that are now ubiquitous in this country. Shortly, I will be in touch with Will regarding the possibility of posting the recordings of those sessions on the website.

The affiliate leaders have expressed a desire that our meetings provide them with helpful information and training that they can utilize in their state organizations. I am committed to working with GDUI leaders as its affiliate liaison to ensure that the meetings are affirming, instructive, and a safe place for open, honest debate and discussion.

I want to publicly acknowledge the hard work of Ann Chiappetta and Michael Malver on the creation of the GDUI Leaders list and their commitment to setting up a list environment that is welcoming to the diverse GDUI affiliates. I drafted an invitation letter for the affiliates that was signed off on by both Annie and Michael. They guested at the January Affiliate Presidents’ and Leaders’ meeting to present this new GDUI service and to address any questions. Each affiliate president will appoint up to six organizational leaders to participate on the Leaders’ list. The reception of this opportunity to learn and communicate was enthusiastic.

Another GDUI service that was introduced to the affiliates was the GDUI blog which affords a grand opportunity for affiliates to publicize their ongoing work from which other affiliates can benefit as well. Will Burley also guested at the January meeting and explained the principles of a blog and invited all affiliates to post.

The GDUI cruise and drawing were discussed in detail. Bob Acosta had planned to guest at the meeting as well; but a family matter kept him away. In his absence, President, Penny Reeder, who is always faithful to attend these meetings, spoke about these wonderful avenues for benefit to GDUI and for enjoyment as well. At the next meeting to be held during the third Thursday in March at both 11-00 a.m. and 9-00 p.m. EST, we will introduce the special fundraising option for GDUI’s affiliates.

Penny and I will meet with the Board of GDUC as we move toward the goal of bringing them back into the GDUI family.
I am delighted that the Mid-Atlantic states have created a guide dog users group that will soon seek formal affiliation with GDUI.

I end this report by expressing my gratitude to this Board for their commitment to GDUI’s affiliates and their willingness to work with me as we move forward with the affiliates, our feet on the ground in the states where it matters the most in terms of moving forward with the legislative and advocacy goals of this organization.

Respectfully submitted,
Debbie Grubb
GDUI Affiliate Liaison

Agenda item Guide Dog Schools Liaison Report:
Pat Hill submitted the following Guide Dog Schools Liaison report.

Pat Hill thanked Dixie Sanderson for sending out the newsletter information. They have an updated list of guide dog schools and their contact information. Included is a list of schools that use certain breeds. Pat will send the list to the board Email list and it will be on the GDUI website.

The revised guide dog school survey is about ready to be sent to the schools. When the surveys are returned, the information will be on our website.

Agenda item Constitution and Bylaws Committee Report:
Maria Hansen submitted the following Constitution Committee Report.

Committee members: Maria, John, Lynn, Ellen, Rick and Penny.
We’re working hard on developing Bylaws that will meet the requirements of the DC Code and address member concerns. The document should soon be ready for Board review.
I want to thank Will for setting up an email list for the committee.
Maria Hansen
Chair, Constitution/Bylaws Committee

Agenda item Publications Committee:
Ann Chiappetta submitted the following Publications Committee Report:

Publications Committee Report January 2015
Compiled by Annie Chiappetta, Publications Co-Chair with assistance by Michael Malver, Publications Co-Chair

List moderators and committee members: Ken Metz, Dixie Sanderson, and Deanna Noriega

Publications Document Revision Project Members are working on a number of projects.
• Denise Decker’s travel tip sheets and fact sheet for law enforcement regarding service dogs are up on the publications portion of our website.
• The booklet for prospective handlers, previously called “Making Impressions” is being changed, and so far, the revised document is tentatively titled “Is a Guide Dog the Right Choice for you?” Deanna has made some revisions and currently Annie is checking facts and references.
• We are pleased to say that with Will’s assistance and that of the new webmaster, our chat and board lists are now back on an owned and operated GDUI server. The list transition was smooth with only a few hiccups. Ken and Dixie are excellent moderators. The chat list is particularly busy and their jobs often go unnoticed until a problem arises. Rest assured they are on top of things.
• The leadership list is growing every week, please keep the subscriptions coming in. We number 22 members so far.
Questions and concerns should be directed to: gdui-leadership-owner@lists.guidedogusersinc.org
But Annie can also be reached at the dungarees@optonline.net address or the publications@guidedogusersinc.org address.
• The Facebook and twitter feeds are running and gaining followers weekly. Facebook now has 66 followers. Twitter has 16 followers. We are happy to report the blog now feeds into the Facebook newsfeed, thanks to Will, too. What this means is that once a blog post is done, it will automatically post on the GDUI Facebook timeline and no matter what medium you choose to follow, our news and events will populate in all three.
• We are working on becoming a charity partner with the American Humane Association’s Hero dog Awards. What this means is a person who registers his or her dog to compete for the top spot for guide dogs can go onto compete for the Hero Dog 2015 award. Handlers can choose GDUI as his or her charity. If they win, GDUI will receive donation dollars or gifts, depending on how far along the guide dog gets in the voting. It would be great if more than one dog team chooses us, it will increase our chances of receiving money. The link will be posted on our main page once things are finalized. One caveat: it is up to the individual handler to promote his/her dog and the AHA has plenty of tips and information on how to do this if you register your dog in the guide dog category. Video and social media helps.
• We are helping Betsy with letters and other membership information and we are available to assist with writing and editing of committee and affiliate information as well.

Motion carried accepting the Publications report.

Agenda item Membership Committee Report:
Betsy Grenevitch submitted the following Membership Committee report:

GDUI Membership Committee
January 17, 2015

I want to thank again the members of the GDUI membership committee for their assistance with completing our various goals.

We have now completed the letters that will be sent to be handed out to potential, new or renewing members.

We have a list of what other information sheets are available upon request for the above categories so that when the information is requested it can be received quickly. We had talked previously about having packets but will be discussing with the committee a suggestion of doing it a little differently where the individual can choose which items they would be interested in reading.

The letters are still being worked on that will be send to prospective vendors inquiring whether they would be interested in giving discounts to our GDUI members on their products.

We are hoping to have business cards available in the next few months to be handed out at ACB conventions and possibly for members to give to people who are interested or have a family member who is interested in getting more information about guide dogs. These cards will be in both print and Braille.

The committee will be discussing in the near future about possibly recognizing life members when they join and once this has been thoroughly discussed and approved in the committee meeting will be brought before the board at a future board meeting.

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, February 12, at 7:00 PM EST.

Respectfully submitted
Betsy Grenevitch
Membership Committee Chair

Motion carried to accept the report.

Agenda item Legislative Committee Report:
Ginger Kutsch submitted the following Legislative Committee report.

Greetings all,
Legislative committee 2015 first quarter report.

We mainly focused on the legislative pages for the new GDUI web site. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Best,
Ginger

January 2015 Legislative Committee Report

Task 1. Prepare web pages for the legislative portion of the new GDUI web site
Update: final draft almost completed for submission to Publications Committee for review.

Task 2. Research and track service animal legislation and share information with members.
Update: recruited new committee member to assist committee with research and bill tracking; provided support for drafting legislation to amend California guide dog protection law; notified South Carolina affiliate of pending legislation to change the name of service animal.

Task 3. Quarterly submission for PawTracks.
Update: Identified and submitted educational publication regarding service animals from the DOJ for winter issue of PawTracks.

Task 4. Work with ACB national office to draft model legislation that penalizes pet owners who misrepresent their pets as service animals.
Update: Contacted Melanie Brunson and Eric Bridges at the ACB National Office to discuss drafting model legislation. No further progress to report.

Motion carried to accept the report.

Agenda item Advocacy Committee Report:
Becky Barnes-Davidson submitted the following Advocacy Committee report:

Advocacy Committee Report
Jan. 22, 2015
Members: Pat Hill, Sharon Howerton, Ginger Kutsch, Ken Metz, Alice Ritchhart, Dixie Sanderson Chair, Becky Barnes Davidson

Issues currently under consideration:
We are continuing to work on a piece on out-of-control dogs to help people understand what that means in terms of access; we are hoping to include information on size-appropriateness for tasks performed, for example claiming a very small dog is a guide or balance dog.

We are consulting with the DAPP on hospitals and guide dogs; emergency assistance to care for dog when handler is incapacitated. One suggestion is creating some kind of database of puppy raisers and volunteers regionally who might be willing to help in such situations and providing that information to both handlers and medical facilities.

Committee members are willing to help in the research needed on the Air B&B issue regarding regulations and access rights for guide and service dogs at bed-and-breakfast establishments.

The committee is requesting budget line of $200.00 for potential conference or travel fees, etc.
We would like to at some point down the road create a webinar or two on issues of interest, to both our members and the general public. We will need to research hosting either in-house on our web site or on another source, but don’t expect it to be costly, and probably not this budget year.

Submitted by Becky Barnes Davidson

Motion carried to accept the report.

Agenda item Special Concerns Committee Report:
Vickie Curley submitted the following Special Concerns report:

Hello everyone, I had a bit of a problem with the recipient email, but hopefully I have fixed that and this report will come through.

All the Lords blessings from Vickie and Valor. Join us on our adventures at underdogblog.livejournal.com

From: Vickie Curley <njtribefan@yahoo.com>
Date: January 18, 2015 at 1:51:50 PM EST
To: GDUI <gdui-board@lists.guidedogusersiinc.org>
Subject: Special concerns committee report
Hello everyone. I do hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season. It may be cold outside but it sure is warm in the hearts of everyone here on the empathizer team. We are so blessed to have a terrific group of folks who stand ready to except any calls from GD UI members and friends. We even have several individuals who are willing to be put on an auxiliary team list should they be needed. I can tell you that we truly do need everyone on this wonderful committee. One never knows when a situation will arise that only we as dog guide handlers can truly understand. Yes, we are all individuals, but we have a common bond and that bond is our wonderful dogs. I plan to meet with the team in February to talk about putting together an article in the next addition of PawTracks as to the origin of the Empathizer team. Jane Sheehan and several other team members have agreed to work together on this effort. We will be continuing to look for training opportunities. My plan is to use the expertise of our very own members. We are very fortunate to have many talented people on this team. My plan is to tap into some of this wonderful knowledge and provide more training for our team members. As I stated in my last report, Michelle Drolett is ready and willing to help any team members, should they need her. Our team is comfortable with continuing to use their own personal phone numbers for GD UI members and friends to call them on. We will not need a line item on the 2015 budget at this time. I will be sending this information to the budget committee as well. I just wanted to make sure that I included that information on both my general report and the one to the budget committee specifically on this issue. Again, thank you all so very much and we, as your empathizer team look forward to being of service to anyone who might need a friendly ear to listen.
Vickie Curley

The motion carried to accept the report.

Agenda item Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program:
Sarah Calhoun submitted the following Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program (DAPP) report:

Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program Committee Report

The DAPP team held a meeting on Thursday, January 15, 2015.
In attendance: Bob Acosta; Sarah Calhoun, chair; Ann Chiappetta; Lynn Merrill; Ken Metz & Dixie Sanderson.

The DAPP committee approved to have Landa Phelan as a guest speaker during the GDUI events at the ACB 2015 Convention. Landa will speak on emergency preparedness for you and your guide dog. I have included her bio at the end of this report. Landa is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in preparing for emergencies. Landa will join us during our next DAPP meeting.

Dixie Sanderson serves on the DAPP and Advocacy committees. Dixie suggested a collaborative project between both Committee’s to write a check sheet on making arrangements a head of time for a family member, friend, your veterinarian hospital, guide dog school, puppy raiser, etc., to take care of your guide dog in the event you are hospitalized and can’t care for your dog. The committee approved the project. Ken Metz volunteered to write the check list.

The DAPP committee suggested requesting a $60.00 expense to be added in the 2015 GDUI budget. This is in preparation in the event we need to expedite a $50.00 pre-paid card to an approved GDUI member requesting emergency financial assistance for their guide dog during a catastrophe. We estimate spending up to $20.00 expediting each $50.00 pre-paid card.

The DAPP team will write a brochure on preparing a survival kit for you and your guide dog, including a list of suggested items. Sarah Calhoun volunteered to write the brochure and make a survival kit to take to the ACB 2015 Convention for people to look over.

Bio of Landa Phelan:

My name is Landa Phelan. I am a Young Proud Independent Blind Senior.
I was born in the state of California. Raised in Fremont California.
Graduate from Newark High, and MTI Business College.
I moved to Hawaii 25 years ago.

I have an eye disease called Wet Macular Degeneration of the Retina.
My Blindness has been for 20 years

I am a certified Guide Dog Handler and use to use a Guide Dog for mobility she passed away in March 6, 2012 due to Cancer.

I was the first blind person to graduate from the Hawaii Woman’s Business Center small business planning and marketing class which opened the doors for other blind persons to follow.

Active in the blind Community:

I am on the Advisory Board at Ho’opono. I have served two terms as Chair on the Ho’opono State Rehabilitation Center for the blind advisory board. and was awarded the Ho’opono 2005 volunteer person of the year award.

In 2007 I was presented the EVA SMITH Award by the Hawaii Association of the blind. For my contributions to the welfare and well-being to the blind community.

I currently hold a seat on the Board of Directors for the Hawaii Association of the Blind, which is an Affiliate of the AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND.
I am also a member of the Hawaii Association of Parents of the visually impaired.
and serve as a Mentor to Blind and Deaf Blind children.
Plus I am on Senator Suzanne Chung Oakland’s Deaf/Blind Task Force Council

I am on the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization ( OMPO) and on the Transportation committee.

I am certified to give Emergency Preparedness Training presentations to the community such as Seniors and people with disabilities.
I also provide training to Pet Owners and Service animal handlers on Emergency preparedness.

Recently I was appointed by Governor Neal Abercrombie to the
Disability and Communication Access Board (DCAB)

OUTREACH-
I have given outreach presentations on blind awareness to the public Plus educated over 600 cab drivers on sensitivity training to people
with disabilities. and sighted guide techniques, safety tips. And Guide Dog etiquette, and ADA Laws.

In 2007 I began participating in the education of their Sensitivity training program for Para Transit. (Handy Van) new drivers.
and The CAB.

BUSINESS
Do to my personal experiences I realize that there is a misconception that the sighted community has about blindness.
at times at work or in the public sector the sighted community lacks the knowledge or education on how to communicate with persons, who are blind or have limited vision, and because of this I developed a strong passion for outreach Therefore, it is my intentions to bridge this gap. So I often volunteer my business called Sharper Senses. Sharper Senses provides customized sensitivity training to management and staff for restaurant, hotels, shops, or any business that provides service to the public.

I want to make things better today for tomorrow.

My goals are educating communities on Blind Awareness,
Emergency Preparedness Training
Advocating for issues that affect our Blind community.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun
Chair of the Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program Team

Motion carried to accept the report.

Agenda item Fund-Raising Committee Report:
Bob Acosta submitted the following Fund Raising Committee report:

Guide Dog users, Inc.
REPORT FOR THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Special Note: Just as we finalized this report to The Board of Directors, our President asked us to look into the possibility of getting GDUI approved as a charitable organization to be registered with Amazon. The Fund-Raising Committee gathered the necessary information and forwarded it to our President. Hopefully, the day will soon come when all of our Amazon purchases can assist Guide Dog users, Inc., financially.
Although our Committee does all that we can to disseminate recordings of our meetings and the minutes of our meetings, we are also pleased to present this report.

Dear Colleagues:
The Fund-Raising Committee is off and running in 2015.
At present, we are involved with several active fund-raising projects.

7. We are pleased to report that we made $ 500 for GDUI from the Silpada Jewelry Party. This was our first project and we shall use this as a springboard for future efforts.

8. The Summer Drawing will be held at the luncheon of the GDUI National Convention on July 8, 2015.
On Monday June 5, 2015 our National President called me with some requests. First, she wanted all drawing ticket sales to cease as of June 1, 2015. Secondly, she asked that we only seek cash prizes and gift card prizes. This was to avoid any confusion with The Silent Auction and our Drawing by the public and our membership. I informed her that some items other than the above were already obtained and published on our flyers and our news articles.

I reported her requests at the meeting of the Fund-Raising Committee held on Tuesday January 13. Although some concern was expressed I believe that we shall work twice as hard to make the summer drawing a roaring success.

9. The official Summer Drawing has begun. We are pleased to announce that the flyers for the Drawing and the Cruise are now on our web site at: www.guidedogusersinc.org/blog. We have gathered several prizes to present for the drawing.
We would especially like to thank the CCrane Company for donating a Skywave Radio. We are selling chances for $10 each. Every donor will be sent a note giving him/her ticket numbers and acknowledging receipt of donations with a hearty thank you. We have sent hard-copy flyers to every member of the Board along with committee chairs and our affiliate presidents. At present, flyers are being made ready to send out to our ACB Affiliate Editors thanks to the help of Sharon Lovering. Articles have been submitted to The Braille Forum, PawTracks, and Blind Californian and to Newsreel. Please feel free to suggest other magazines and please include appropriate contact information.
10. The Cruise to the Caribbean December 5-12, 2015, is now official. I am pleased to report that people are beginning to book rooms. Remember that you can make monthly payments. We are advertising this event in Paw Tracks, Newsreel, The Braille Forum, Blind Californian and other magazines in order to reach out to the blind community as well as to our sighted friends. Please call Dave Kronk at (618) 409-0143.
11. On January 15 I hope to be speaking to the Affiliate Presidents regarding our fund-raising activities, not only on behalf of GDUI, but those which can help our affiliates directly.
12. We are doing all we can to encourage our members to contribute to the Monthly Monetary Support Program. The drive is in full swing, and we hope it will be successful.
13. Finally, the Committee has set some goals for 2015
A. To look into an auction for Guide Dog users, Inc., using ACB Radio or if necessary to go online. At present, we are working with Larry Turnbull to see if we can use the facilities of ACB Radio for such an auction. These proceedings are in the investigative stages.
B. We shall seek grants for GDUI when we receive the necessary paperwork from our organization.
C. We shall prepare a donor letter and investigate the possibility of using a Mail Company to assist us in distributing such letters to the public. We need a donor base which includes the public.
We conclude this report by stating that fund raising is a total team effort. We wish to thank all of you for your assistance and your cooperation.

Submitted by,
Robert Acosta Chair
Fund-Raising Committee

Agenda item Old Business:
As GDUI is a non-profit organization, we are required to register with the DC government every two years. We acquired Incorp Services in 2014 to act as our registered agent. We will need to register again in 2016. Discussion regarding acquiring Incorp Services will be brought up at a later meeting.

Agenda item New Business:

Member’s questions and comments

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary

+++++
GDUI Special Board Meeting Minutes
March 6, 2015

In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President; Will Burley, First Vice President; Maria Hansen, Second Vice President; Sarah Calhoun, Secretary; and Lynn Merrill, Treasurer.
Directors:
Bob Acosta, Betsy Grenevitch, Dixie Sanderson and Jane Sheehan
Debbie Grubb, Affiliate Liaison
Pat Sheehan, ACB Board Representative and facilitator
Guest’s: John McCann & Ellen Telker
Excused absence: Ann Chiappetta, Director; Vickie Curley, Director; Nolan Crabb, Paw Tracks Editor & Pat Hill, Guide Dog School Liaison.
Unexcused absence: Laurie Mehta, Immediate Past President.

President Penny Reeder opened the meeting with welcoming remarks.

The roll call was taken by Sarah Calhoun. A quorum was met.

A motion was made by Bob Acosta to approve the agenda. The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Discussion of proposed Bylaws.
Maria Hansen, chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee reviewed the Bylaws with the board members. During the review, some items were revised.

Will Burley will set up a separate Bylaws discussion chat list. The first Email will be an invitation to subscribe to this Bylaws only chat list. The proposed Bylaws will be posted to this list for members to discuss and make positive suggestions.

The Constitution & Bylaws Committee and the Nominating Committee will hold two telephonic membership meetings together. Each session will have two segments, one for members to discuss the proposed Bylaws and the second segment will be a Candidate Forum.

A telephonic recording of the proposed Bylaws will be made available.

Agenda item: Approval of voting system.
A motion was made by Will Burley to approve the funds in order to use the Vote Now system during the 2015 elections and to vote on the proposed Bylaws. The motion was seconded by Maria Hansen. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Discussion and approval of proposed 2015 budget.
Sarah Calhoun, co-chair of the Budget & Finance Committee, brought forth to the board the proposed 2015 budget for their review and discussion.

A motion was made by Jane Sheehan to approve the 2015 budget. The motion was seconded by Betsy Grenevitch. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

A motion was made by Bob Acosta to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary
*****
Proposed BYLAWS
Draft for Submission to the Membership: April 6, 2015
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
ARTICLE 1.00: NAME; Governance; Affiliation
1.01: Name
The name of this Organization shall be Guide Dog Users, Inc., hereinafter referred to as GDUI or the Organization.
1.02: Governance
This Organization shall be a member-governed Organization as defined in §29-401.50(a) of the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act of 2012, hereinafter the DC Nonprofit Code.
1.03: Affiliation
This Organization shall be a chartered special interest affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, and shall hence be subject to all requirements and obligations applicable to affiliates of that organization.
ARTICLE 2.00: PURPOSES
2.01: The purposes of this Organization, in addition to those stated in the Articles of Incorporation, shall be:
(1) To promote the acceptance of guide dog teams by all agencies, employers, educational institutions, commercial establishments, and the general public.
(2) To work for the expansion, standardization, and enforcement of legal provisions, both civil and criminal, governing the rights and responsibilities in the areas of public access, employment, housing, personal injury to dog and handler, transportation, and recreation.
(3) To work in cooperation with guide dog training providers in contributing input in the areas of selection, training, health care, and accommodations for both canine and human students, and to provide constructive input to improve the quality of the training experience.
ARTICLE 3.00: OFFICES AND REGISTERED AGENT
3.01: Offices
The principal office of the Organization shall be located within or without the District of Columbia at such place as the Board of Directors shall from time to time designate. The Organization may maintain additional offices at such other places within or without the District of Columbia as the Board of Directors may designate.
3.02: Registered Agent
The Organization shall designate a person to serve as the registered agent for the District of Columbia. The Board of Directors may change the registered agent from time to time.
ARTICLE 4.00: INDIVIDUAL AND AFFILIATE MEMBERSHIP
4.01: Classes of Membership
This Organization shall have voting members and is authorized to have categories of non-voting members. The requirements for voting members shall be as stated in ¶ 4.03 of these Bylaws. The Board may establish requirements and qualifications for non-voting members or classes of non-voting members subject to the approval of the membership at an annual meeting.
4.02: Availability
Upon compliance with the requirements of ¶ 4.03 of these Bylaws, voting membership shall be available to all persons eighteen years of age or over who support the purposes of this Organization, provided however that at all times, the majority of the voting membership shall be blind or visually impaired persons who use guide dogs.
4.03: Requirements for Voting Membership
Voting membership shall be conferred in this Organization upon the payment of dues. The dues for “at large” members, life members, and affiliates shall be in such amounts as may be established by the Board of Directors. The Board shall, when appropriate, also require that prospective members submit such other information as is, or may be, necessary to comply with legally mandated corporate governance and/or record keeping requirements, or which is, or may be, requested by the American Council of the Blind.
4.04: Rights of Members
Each member who has paid his or her membership dues by the record date shall be considered a member in good standing and shall be eligible to cast one vote on those matters set forth in these Bylaws or on which the Nonprofit Code requires the approval of the members. The record date to determine which members are entitled to vote at a meeting of the membership shall be five (5) days before the first notice is given to members.
4.05: Affiliates
All affiliates of GDUI shall be organized in accordance with the following requirements:
(1) Any organization making application for affiliate status shall have no fewer than seven (7) members, the majority of whom shall be guide dog users. Each affiliate organization shall maintain a majority of members who are users of guide dogs. Any affiliate failing to maintain a membership of at least seven (7) members for three (3) consecutive years shall be considered to be inactive and any affiliate rights conferred by these Bylaws shall be suspended until such time as the affiliate complies with the above-stated minimum membership requirement.
(2) Any organization making application for affiliation shall submit its constitution and bylaws for review and approval by the GDUI Board of Directors.
(3) The governing instruments of any organization seeking affiliation with GDUI shall not be in conflict with those of GDUI.
(4) Applicants for affiliation shall be approved by an affirmative vote of a majority of Board members eligible to vote.
(5) All affiliates shall be responsible for paying the required dues per affiliate member to GDUI on an annual basis. Failure to submit the required dues in a timely manner may, by direction of the Board of Directors, forfeit voting privileges for the affiliate and the members of the affiliate.
(6) Each GDUI affiliate shall, on an annual basis, submit its dues along with an updated roster of members, a copy of its constitution and/or bylaws (as amended), and a current list of officers and directors to the person designated by the President on or before February 15, unless the affiliate requests and is granted an extension by the President.
4.06: Affiliate Voting
(1) Affiliate voting shall be limited to caucuses and other activities authorized by the Board of Directors, with the exception that the membership at a properly called meeting, may, by majority vote of those present and voting, call for a roll call vote on a specific matter of business. When affiliate voting is authorized, each affiliate shall be entitled to one (1) affiliate vote in any annual or special meeting of the membership or properly called telephonic or electronic election/meeting for each seven (7) affiliate members, or major fraction thereof; however, no affiliate may have more than twenty-five (25) affiliate votes.
(2) Each affiliate shall select a delegate who shall cast the affiliate’s vote.
(3) Should the membership of an affiliate drop below seven (7) members, that affiliate shall be entitled to one (1) affiliate vote and be subject to the conditions specified in paragraph 4.05 1. of this Article.
(4) To insure that its affiliate vote is cast in an equitable manner when conducting American Council of the Blind business, GDUI shall conduct a caucus at each annual convention at which time the delegates will record the vote of GDUI members and affiliate representatives present in conformity with the provisions of this section. Individual affiliate members shall be members of GDUI by virtue of their affiliate membership and shall possess all rights incidental thereto.
4.07: Affiliate Dissolution
In the event that an affiliate elects to dissolve, the president or other presiding officer shall, as soon as possible, give written notice to the GDUI President and Treasurer of the affiliate’s dissolution.
ARTICLE 5.00: OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS
5.01: Officers
The Officers of GDUI shall be the President, the First Vice-President, the Second Vice-President, the Secretary, and the Treasurer.
(1) The President, First Vice-President, and Second Vice-President shall be elected for terms of two (2) years and shall not be eligible to serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same office.
(2) The Secretary and Treasurer shall be elected for terms of two (2) years and there shall be no term limits.
5.02: Directors
GDUI shall elect six (6) Directors with two (2) Directors being elected annually for terms of three (3) years, thereby creating staggered terms. No member shall be eligible to serve for more than two (2) consecutive terms as a Director.
5.03: Non-Voting Positions
There shall be three (3) additional positions on the Board of Directors, two (2) of which are appointed by the President, and one (1) of which is elected by the Board of Directors. The two appointed positions are the Affiliates Liaison and the Guide Dog Schools Liaison, and the elected position shall be the Editor of GDUI’s regular publication. These three additional members shall serve as ex-officio members of the Board without a vote. The additional two (2) appointed Board members shall be limited to serving the same terms as Directors unless an extension of service is requested and granted by a majority vote of the Voting Members of the Board. The member elected to the publication Editor Board position shall serve unlimited terms unless requested to be removed or is removed from that position by the procedures specified in paragraph 6.08 dealing with removal of Officers, Directors and Appointees.
5.04: Board of Directors
The Officers, Directors, and the three (3) additional members who are elected or appointed to the Board shall constitute the Board of Directors of this Organization, (hereinafter the Board). All Officers shall be considered to be Directors as that term is used in the DC Nonprofit Code.
5.05: Locales of Directors
Of those Director positions that are elected to the Board, no more than three (3) members occupying those positions shall be from the same state, District, or possession. For the avoidance of doubt, the publication Editor, the Affiliates Liaison, and the Guide Dog Schools Liaison are not elected positions on the Board.
5.06: Individual Duties of Board Members
Except as may be otherwise specified in the Articles of Incorporation or these Bylaws, the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be such as are prescribed in the parliamentary authority adopted by this Organization or as may be specifically prescribed or mandated by the DC Nonprofit Code. The duties of the remaining Board members shall be such as may be determined by the Board of Directors or the membership.
5.07: Eligibility for Board Service
(1) Candidates for any office on the Board shall be members of GDUI.
(2) The President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, and a majority of the Board of Directors shall be guide dog users.
(3) All elected Officers, Directors, and appointed Board members shall serve in no more than one (1) Board position at a time while serving on the GDUI Board of Directors.
5.08: Partial Terms
Any period of time served in office which is less than half a term, whether occurring by election or appointment to complete an unexpired term, shall not be counted as a term served. All incumbents shall continue serving in the offices to which they have been elected or appointed until their successors are elected and take office.
5.09: Election and Tenure
(1) The election of Officers and Directors shall take place during an annual meeting. Those who are members of GDUI as of the record date (five (5) days prior to notice of the election) shall be eligible to vote.
(2) Officers will be elected by a majority of the members present at the meeting.
(3) In the event there are more than two candidates for any Officer position and following the election, no candidate has received more than 50% of the votes cast for such office, a second election will be held immediately following the conclusion of the first election. The two candidates receiving the most votes in the first election shall be candidates in the second election. If either of the top two candidates elects not to stand for the second election, the candidate with the next highest vote total shall be a candidate for office in the second vote. No additional nominees will be accepted for such office.
(4) Directors will be elected by a plurality of the members present at the meeting.
(5) May shall be the month of the annual election unless otherwise rescheduled by the Board of Directors.
(6) Except in cases where persons join the Board to fill vacancies, the term of service for all Officers, Directors, or Appointees shall begin at the close of the annual GDUI convention in the year of election and shall end at the close of the annual GDUI convention in the year that elects and qualifies their successors.
ARTICLE 6.00: POWERS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS; MEETINGS; QUORUM; FILLING
OF VACANCIES
6.01: Authority and Powers
The Board of this Organization shall have such authority and exercise such powers as are mandated or permitted by the DC Nonprofit Code except as may be further limited by these Bylaws, or, to the extent legally permissible, the membership. The Board shall function as the governing body of this Organization between annual membership meetings and shall not adopt any position nor take any action in conflict with any prior positions, policies, or decisions adopted by the membership.
6.02: Annual, Regular and Special Meetings
GDUI shall hold an annual meeting of its Board of Directors for the transaction of such business as may properly come before the meeting. The annual meeting of the Board shall be held after the annual meeting of the members as provided for in paragraph 5.09 (5), at such place and at such time as determined by the Board of Directors. The Organization may hold other regular meetings of the Board in accordance with a schedule to be published to the membership. Unless the Articles of Incorporation, the Nonprofit Code or these Bylaws provide otherwise, any business may be considered at the annual or any other regular meeting of the Board without such business having been specified in the notice for such meeting. Failure to hold an annual meeting does not invalidate the Organization’s existence or affect any otherwise valid corporate acts. Special meetings of the Board may also be called at the discretion of the President or at the request of any two Board members.
6.03: Notice of Meetings
NO notice of meetings shall be required for regularly scheduled Board meetings beyond the published schedule required by ¶ 6.02 of these Bylaws. Notice of any special Board meeting shall be given no less than two days prior to the date on which such meeting is scheduled to occur except in emergency circumstances as defined in §29-403.03(d) of the DC Nonprofit Code, in which case the above-stated notice requirement shall be superseded by §29-403.03(b)(1) of the Code. Notices of any special meeting need not specify the purpose for which the meeting has been called except that notice of intent to remove a Director shall always be given in the case of any regular or special meeting at which such action is contemplated.
6.04: Participation
The Board may permit any or all Directors to participate in a regular or special meeting by, or conduct the meeting through the use of, any means of communication by which all Directors participating may simultaneously hear each other during the meeting. A Director participating in a meeting by this means shall be considered to be present in person at the meeting.
6.05: Quorum and Action by Directors.
A majority of the Voting Members of the Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any regular or special Board meeting. Unless the Articles of Incorporation, the Nonprofit Code or these Bylaws require a greater proportion, the action of a majority of the Voting
Members of the Board present at a meeting of the Board at which a quorum is present shall constitute action of the Board of Directors.
6.06: Action by Written Consent
Any action required or permitted to be taken at a meeting of the Board of Directors may be taken without a meeting, if a unanimous written consent setting forth the action to be taken is signed by each Director of the Board of Directors and filed with the minutes of proceedings of the Board of Directors.
6.07: Filling of Vacancies
(1) A vacancy occurs when the incumbent in any Officer or Director position dies, becomes incapacitated, resigns, or is removed in accordance with ¶ 6.08 of these Bylaws or §29-406/08 of the DC Nonprofit Code.
(2) In the case of a vacancy in the President’s position, regardless of the amount of time remaining in the term of office, the duties and responsibilities of the President shall be immediately assumed by the First Vice President who shall continue serving as President for the remainder of the term. In the case of a vacancy occurring in any other position, (including that of the First Vice Presidency under the circumstance just described), the President may appoint, with approval by majority vote of the Voting Members of the Board of Directors, whether or not sufficient to constitute a quorum, any member to fill the position until the next scheduled election occurs, at which time the members shall elect an individual to fill the unexpired term of the Director whose resignation or removal created the vacancy on the Board.
(3) Even if these vacancies are filled by Presidential appointment with Board approval, they are elected Board positions.
6.08: Removal or Resignation of Directors
(In this section, the term Directors will also include Officers.)
(1) The members may remove any Director, with or without cause, at the annual or special meeting of the members, by the affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members present at the meeting, provided a quorum is present. The notice of the meeting at which the removal of a Director is to be considered must state that one of the purposes of the meeting is to vote on the removal of the Director.
(2) The Board of Directors, by the affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the Voting Members of the Board of Directors then in office, may remove a Director who:
(a) Has been declared of unsound mind;
(b) Has been convicted of a felony;
(c) Has been found by a final court order to have breached a duty as a Director;
(d) Has ceased to be a member in good standing of GDUI, or
(e) Has missed three (3) or more meetings in any twelve month period without being excused.
(3) A Director may resign at any time upon written notice to the Secretary or any other Officer of the Organization. Such resignation shall take effect on the date the notice was delivered to the Secretary or other Officer, unless the notice specifies a later effective date.
(4) A Director appointed by the Board to fill a vacancy shall serve until the next annual meeting of the members. The Board of Directors may remove any Director appointed pursuant to this Section, with cause, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Voting Members of the Board.
ARTICLE 7.00: MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS
7.01: Annual Meeting
This Organization shall hold an annual meeting to conduct such business as may be required by the DC Nonprofit Code and for such other business as the membership may wish to have considered at such meeting. Failure to hold an annual meeting does not invalidate the Organization’s existence or affect any otherwise valid organizational acts.
7.02: Annual Convention
GDUI shall meet in convention annually in conjunction with the annual convention of the American Council of the Blind to conduct business, (as limited below), engage in educational and recreational activities, and participate in the various activities of the annual convention of the American Council of the Blind. GDUI members and friends are welcome to attend the GDUI convention and notice and quorum requirements are waived for any business meetings or sessions thereof that may take place at such convention; however, such business shall be strictly limited to matters coming before the ACB convention on which GDUI may wish to adopt positions or take specific actions.
7.03: Special Meetings
Special membership meetings may be called by the President, the Board of Directors, or upon the request of ten percent (10%) of the voting members of this Organization as determined from the date prior to that on which the first request for such meeting was made.
7.04: Record Date
The record date shall be the date as of which the Organization shall determine who is a member in good standing and eligible to vote at the meeting of the members. The record date for an annual meeting of the members shall be the date that is five (5) days prior to the date notice of the annual meeting is to be given. The record date for a special meeting of the members called by the President or the Board of Directors shall be five (5) days prior to the date notice of the special meeting is to be given. The record date for a special meeting called by 10% of the members shall be the date the first member in good standing signs the petition. The determination of who is a member in good standing eligible to vote shall be made by the Secretary as of the close of business on the record date.
7.05: Notice of Meetings
(1)The Organization shall give notice to the members entitled to vote of the date, time, and place of each annual or special meeting of the members. The notice shall be given at least 45 days before the annual meeting date and at least 10 days in the case of a special meeting.
(2) Notice is given when it is delivered personally to the member, left at the member’s residence or usual place of business, or sent by facsimile or e-mail, or, in the alternative, by U.S. mail to the member’s address as it shall appear on the records of the Organization. The notice shall state whether the Organization has elected to proceed under §29-405.20(f) of the Nonprofit Code.
(3) Notwithstanding the foregoing, a member may waive notice of any meeting of the members by written statement filed with the Secretary, or by oral statement at any such meeting. Attendance at a meeting of the members shall also constitute a waiver of notice, except where a member states that he or she is attending solely for the purpose of objecting to the conduct of business because the meeting was not lawfully called or convened. Any meeting of the members may adjourn from time to time to reconvene at the same or some other place, and no notice need be given of any such adjourned meeting other than by general announcement.
7.06: Quorum
Except as otherwise provided in the Nonprofit Code, the Articles of Incorporation or these Bylaws, fifteen (15%) of the votes of members entitled to vote shall constitute a quorum.
7.07: Conduct of Meeting
The President shall preside at each meeting of members. The President shall determine the order of business and has the authority to establish rules for the conduct of the meeting. The President shall announce at the meeting when the polls close for each matter voted upon by the members. After the polls close, no ballots or votes, nor any otherwise permissible revocations or changes to a member’s vote may be accepted. Each member is entitled to one vote. A member may not vote by proxy.
7.08: Voting
Except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws, all issues to be voted on shall be decided by a simple majority of those present at the meeting in which the vote takes place. There shall be no cumulative voting.
7.09: Meeting by Conference Telephone
Members of the Organization may participate in a meeting by means of a conference telephone or similar communications equipment if all persons participating in the meeting can hear one another, vote on matters submitted to the members, pose questions and make comments. Participation in a meeting by these means constitutes presence in person at a meeting.
7.10: Action by Recorded Ballot
(1) Any action required or permitted to be taken at an annual or special meeting of the members may be taken without a meeting, if the Organization delivers a ballot to every member entitled to vote on the matter.
(2) The ballot must be inscribed on a tangible medium or stored in an electronic or other medium that is retrievable in a perceivable form and sent by personal delivery to the member, left at the member’s residence or usual place of business, sent by facsimile or e-mail, or, in the alternative, by U.S. mail to the member’s address as it shall appear on the records of the Organization. The ballot must:
(a) set forth each proposed action;
(b) provide for an opportunity to vote for, or withhold a vote for, each candidate for election as a Director; and
(c) provide an opportunity to vote for or against any other proposed action.
(3) Any measure voted on by ballot, other than the election of Directors, will be considered approved by the members only if:
(a) the number of votes cast equals or exceeds the quorum required for a meeting authorizing the action; and
(b) the number of affirmative votes cast equals or exceeds the number of affirmative votes that would be needed to approve the matter at a meeting assuming the number of members voting at the meeting was equal to the number of ballots cast. The election of a Director is valid only if the number of votes cast by ballot equals or exceeds the quorum required to be present at a meeting electing Directors, and the Director receives a plurality of the votes cast.
(4) The solicitation for votes by ballot must:
(a) indicate the number of responses needed to meet the quorum requirements;
(b) state the percentage of approvals necessary to approve each matter other than election of Directors; and
(c) specify the time by which a ballot must be received by the Organization in order to be counted. A ballot may be validly cast by returning a written ballot to the Organization with the member’s vote recorded on the ballot or by using an electronic, telephonic or other medium that is retrievable in a perceivable form and which is designated by the Organization for casting the ballot. Once cast, a ballot may not be revoked.
7.11: Auditing of Voting Results
For all votes conducted pursuant to paragraphs 5.09 and 7.01 (Board election) and 10.01 (Bylaws amendment) of these Bylaws, the Board shall designate a disinterested non-member to serve as an auditor who shall certify the result of any vote in a sworn statement which shall be retained in this Organization’s records.
ARTICLE 8.00: COMMITTEES
8.01: Classes and Types of Committees
Committees in this Organization shall be of two classes: Board and advisory. The establishment of any Board committees together with their powers, functions, and responsibilities shall be governed in accordance with §29-406.25 of the DC Nonprofit Code. Both Board and advisory committees may be designated as either standing or special committees. The Board of Directors shall have the authority to establish any standing or special advisory committees deemed necessary or desirable to facilitate the transaction of business . The membership of any advisory committee shall be restricted to voting members of this Organization, and such committees shall have only those powers and responsibilities as shall have been specified in the motions or resolutions pursuant to which they were established. The President shall be an ex officio voting member of all committees except the nominating committee. In all cases, a committee may seek the advice of persons recognized as having particular expertise on any matter properly before it for consideration, but such persons shall not participate beyond providing the advice or guidance solicited.
8.02: Board Committees
(1) The Board of Directors, by a vote of a majority of the Directors then in office, may establish one or more standing committees comprised of one or more Directors. The Board of Directors may delegate to these committees any of the powers of the Board of Directors, except as limited by §29-406.25 (e) of the DC Nonprofit Code.
(2) The President of the Board of Directors shall appoint the members and the Chair of each committee, subject to the approval of a majority of the Voting Members of the Board then in office. Each committee shall adopt rules of procedure for its business that are consistent with paragraph 6.03 of these Bylaws. A majority of the members of a committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business and the act of a majority of those present at a meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the act of the committee. Any action required or permitted to be taken at a meeting of a committee may be taken without a meeting, if a unanimous written consent that sets forth the action is signed by each member of the committee and filed with the minutes of the committee. Committees may conduct meetings by teleconference or via the use of similar communications technology in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 6.04 of these Bylaws.
8.03: Special Board Committees
The Board of Directors may appoint one or more special committees for such special tasks as circumstances warrant. Such special committees shall limit their activities to the accomplishment of the task for which they are created and appointed and shall have no power to act except such as is specifically conferred by action of the Board of Directors.
8.04: Advisory Committees.
(1) The Board of Directors may authorize the formation of advisory committees. The advisory committees shall have such functions and responsibilities specified by the Board of Directors; provided, however, that the Board of Directors may not delegate any of its power, authority or functions to any advisory committee. Members of an advisory committee need not be Directors. Each advisory committee may adopt rules of procedure for the conduct of business that are consistent with paragraph 6.03 of these Bylaws and with the rules adopted by the Board of Directors.
(2) The President shall appoint the Chair of each advisory committee. The Chairpersons of the advisory committees shall appoint their committee members. A majority of the members of an advisory committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Advisory committees may conduct meetings by teleconference or via the use of similar communications technology in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 6.04 of these Bylaws.
8.05: Reporting
Each committee shall report to the Board of Directors, to the assembly at annual meetings, and/or through publications of GDUI, on a needs basis or as directed by the President or Board of Directors.
ARTICLE 9.00: FINANCIAL MATTERS
9.01: Receipts and Disbursements
All funds, except those with specific instructions, received by GDUI from dues and other sources shall be paid into a general fund, and all disbursements from the general fund must have the approval of the Board of Directors, unless such disbursements are authorized by way of the annual budget of GDUI. Disbursements that exceed any specified limit must have prior approval of the Board of Directors with the exception of emergencies in which case the expenditure shall be submitted to the Board for ratification by a majority vote of the Voting Members of the Board.
9.02: Reimbursement
All persons incurring expenses in connection with any activity or function undertaken on behalf of this Organization shall be entitled to be reimbursed for any actual costs incurred, up to a specified amount, where such activity or function and expenditure has been expressly authorized by prior action of the Board. Reasonable reimbursement may be permitted in all other circumstances at the discretion of the Board.
ARTICLE 10.00: AMENDMENTS
10.01: Amendments
These Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of those present and voting at any annual or special meeting of the membership at which a quorum is present, provided further that:
(1) the proposed amendment or amendments have been published to the membership in an accessible format or media no less than forty-five (45) days before the date on which such amendment or amendments are to be considered;
(2) that the amendment(s) have been submitted to the Bylaws Committee no less than seventy-five (75) days before the date on which such amendment or amendments are to be considered.
10.02: Effective Date
Amendments to these Bylaws shall become effective immediately upon adoption unless:
(1) the amendment itself, or by proviso attached thereto, contains language specifying another effective date; or,
(2) the amendment, by its terms, specifies that it becomes effective upon the occurrence of a future event or circumstance.
ARTICLE 11.00: MISCELLANEOUS
11.01: Parliamentary Authority
The most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall serve as the parliamentary authority for this Organization in all cases to which it may be applicable and is not otherwise in conflict with the Articles of Incorporation, these Bylaws, or the requirements of any statutes to which this Organization is properly subject.
11.02: Fiscal Year
The fiscal year of the Organization shall be the twelve calendar month period ending December 31 in each year, unless otherwise provided by the Board of Directors.
11.03: Emergency Powers
In the circumstance where a quorum of the Board of Directors cannot readily be assembled because of some catastrophic event, this Organization is expressly authorize to exercise emergency powers as permitted by §29.403.03 of the DC Nonprofit Code.
11.04: Maintenance of Tax Exempt Status
This Organization shall not carry on any activities not permitted to be carried on:
(1) by any Organization exempt from federal income tax under §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or
(2) by any Organization to which contributions are deductible under Sections 170(c)(2), 2055(a)(2), and 2522(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Upon the termination, dissolution or final liquidation of this Organization in any manner or for any reason, its assets, if any, remaining after payment (or provision for payment) of all liabilities of the Organization shall be distributed to, and only to, one or more Organizations to carry out the objectives and purposes stated in the Articles of Incorporation of this Organization, provided that such organizations are organized and operated exclusively for charitable or educational purposes as shall, at the time, qualify as exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Code. In the event that no such organizations exists, the assets shall be distributed to such other organization or organizations as shall, at the time, qualify as exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Code. In no event shall any of such assets or property be distributed to any member, Director or officer, or any private individual.
11.05: Dissolution of Organization
A two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present and voting at an annual or a special called meeting shall be required to dissolve this Organization. GDUI shall then give the Attorney General of the District of Columbia notice in the form of a record that it intends to dissolve before the time it delivers articles of dissolution to the Mayor as required by DC Code §29-412.02(g.).
11.06: Interpretative Guidance
In these Bylaws, references to specific provisions of any statute shall be construed to include the corresponding provisions of any future statutes addressing, or having a bearing on, the subject matter of the original citations. Any provisions of these Bylaws shall be null and void if they are ever determined to be, or subsequently become, inconsistent with any applicable provision of law to which this Organization is properly subject. In the case of any such occurrence, these Bylaws shall be amended at the earliest opportunity to resolve such conflict.
PROVISO
The adoption of these Bylaws supersedes and replaces all other Constitutions and/or Bylaws previously adopted by this Organization. The Secretary, or person or persons responsible for preparing this document for presentation, publication, or distribution are hereby authorized to make such technical, editorial, and/or conforming changes as may be necessary without in any way changing the intent of the original wording contained herein.
Effective Date: These Bylaws shall be effective as of the date they
are adopted by the members.
*****
Leader Dogs for the Blind Earns National Accreditation for O&M Service Offerings
by Rachelle Kniffen, Director of Communications & Marketing
Leader Dogs for the Blind

Leader Dogs for the Blind has been accredited by the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NAC) for applying best practices and delivering services that focus on positive outcomes for its clients. Leader Dog is the first guide dog organization to achieve accreditation by NAC, which is the only international accrediting body devoted to serving organizations that provide programs for people who are blind and those with low vision.
Upon evaluation, the NAC found Leader Dog’s Accelerated Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Training and Summer Experience Camp programs met or exceeded industry standards for the administration and service provision.
“Leader Dogs for the Blind is proud to have earned this NAC accreditation,” said Sue Daniels, president and CEO of Leader Dog. “Our position as the first guide dog organization to have received this qualification sends a clear message that the programs and services we offer are not only a success in the results they produce, but have been approved by a third party and meet the highest standards.”
Accreditation involves a recognized process of assessing organizational structure, process and outcome. NAC accreditation includes engaging the subject organization in a detailed self-assessment using NAC developed evidence-informed standards as well as an on-site peer review.
Accelerated O&M Training is a seven-day residential training empowering people who are blind with the skills needed to travel safely using a white cane in a much shorter timeframe than traditional O&M programs. The one-on-one instruction is tailored to the client’s capabilities allowing for individual needs to be met. Summer Experience Camp is a unique summer camp for boys and girls ages 16 and 17 who are legally blind that combines summer fun, an introduction to guide dogs and the opportunity to spend time with peers who are facing similar challenges.
*****
Contributors to This Issue
We wish to thank the following individuals for their contribution to this issue of Paw Tracks:

Robert Acosta
Linda Carter Batiste
Sarah Calhoun
Ann Chiappetta
The DAPP Committee
Becky Barnes Davidson
Michelle Grenevitch
Maria Hansen
Rachelle Kniffen
Ginger Kutsch
Rebecca Kragnes
Danielle McIntyre
Lynn Merrill
Penny Reeder
Tracie Saab
Lillian Scaife

Download link: Paw Tracks Spring 2015

PawTracks Fall 2015

PawTracks
Fall 2015
Volume XLII, No. 3
Editor: Nolan Crabb
Technical Assistant: Dixie Sanderson
PawTracks is the quarterly magazine of Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI)
An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Visit GDUI Online at: www.guidedogusersinc.org
Toll-Free: (866) 799-8436

Table of Contents
President’s Message by Penny Reeder
Thoughts From the Editor by Nolan Crabb
News Kibble From the Announcement Pouch
The GDUI Summer Drawing Report by Robert Acosta
Get Ready for the Spring Radio Auction by Robert Acosta
New! Frequently Asked Questions Publication From the Department of Justice
Preaching to the Choir: Goodbye Is Still Goodbye by Rebecca Kragnes
The Last Battle (author unknown)
Sundance the Talking Dog Is Gone by Steve Eaton
Man Makes Sacrifice to Give His Two Best Friends a Better Life by Steve Eaton
Dealing With Scavenging Issues in the Working Guide by Graham Buck
Harnessing the Power of Your Guide Dog Then and Now: A History of Harnesses by Nolan Crabb
How Many Purposes Does Your Guide Dog Serve? by Nolan Crabb
The Weekly Telephonic Announcements Are Going Strong by Robert Acosta
GDUI Affiliate Meeting Summary, October 15, 2015 by Debbie Grub
Where Has This Year Gone? by Betsy Grenevich
Treasurer’s Report by Lynn Merrill
GDUI Board Meeting Minutes, May 30 and July 5 by Sarah Calhoun

Note that individual articles are separated by asterisks while subsections within articles are separated by plus signs.

*****
President’s Message
by Penny Reeder
It seems as though summer took a long time to arrive; we were all so busy making sure our elections ran smoothly and then preparing for our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs summer convention. The telephonic and online election process was very accessible for voters, and representatives from VoteNow! went out of their way to solve problems and assist any members who had problems with connectivity. Voter turn-out was great! We are so pleased to have a brand-new constitution that strengthens our membership-driven style of governance, and we welcomed Vickie Curley and Dixie Sanderson to new terms on our board. We made our plane reservations for Dallas and registered for ACB convention attendance. We bade farewell to June, and then, before we knew how it had happened, convention was upon us – and the four days of GDUI convention and the remaining two of ACB convention were speeding by. Now – already — we’re in the last week of August as I write this. Where did the summer go? Time is flying, and by the time this issue of PawTracks finds its way to your in box or your mailbox, fall will be a reality, our dogs will be enjoying the crunch of leaves underfoot, and sniffing, sniffing, sniffing the air to appreciate all those autumn aromas.

It’s funny how time works That way it can drag on and on one week and fly by the next giving all of us an inkling of what Einstein meant when he taught us about relativity. Our dogs have the right attitude, I think: Live in the moment and enjoy every single moment to the fullest!

There were so many things to enjoy at our summer convention. The suite was a wonderful place for all of us to gather. It was great to get to meet and become reacquainted with so many of you, and your guide dogs; to offer so many popular products for sale – we sold out of many of them! – to hang out with Carla Campbell while she helped our dogs relax and revive with her magic canine massages; to spend time with Connie Smith and Jane Woods, our Louisville Ladies, who came to help with all of the tasks associated with efficiently running our suite, and with Judy Brangwin, who came all the way from Germany once again and kept our program events running so smoothly. This is the first convention I can remember when we were able to hold an official board meeting because we had a quorum! We were grateful that so many of us could attend and work together to accomplish a wonderful convention and good things for our members. Convention confirmed for all of us once again that, even though members of GDUI are scattered across the USA – with some from even farther away – we do know how to come together, to work hard on the issues that are important to us as people who are blind who use guide dogs, and to enjoy one another’s company!

Our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs silent auction was a big success, and I’m already thinking about what kind of cookies I’ll be baking and sending to Melvin Smith, our top bidder, in a week or two! The winner of Dallas, our plush black labbie in harness, was one of our volunteers who raises guide dogs for Southeastern. She is thrilled to be a winner, and we were thrilled to leave our plush convention mascot in her capable hands!! The Fundraising Committee’s summer drawing was also quite successful, and it was fun at the conclusion of our luncheon to listen as Bob drew each of the winning tickets and read the braille to identify each of the winners! Presenters during our multi-day program were excellent (Some recordings are available on our website). We learned so much from them and from one another. We couldn’t have managed even one of these events had it not been for the dedication and expertise of all the volunteers in our GDUI suite, who sold tickets, kept track of bids, described items – in person and via the telephone – and then made sure that each item went to the person with the winning bid. Thank you to every member of the program committee, every member of the board who stepped up to help whenever there was a need, every volunteer, and every GDUI friend or member who came and made our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs GDUI Convention such a success and so much fun.

Our Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception was truly a convention highlight. School representatives who came to Dallas to interact with graduates and to recruit new students, to help us and to present a number of GDUI program items were genuinely moved by our efforts to thank our schools, and we were pleased to be able to share a Guide Dog Schools Appreciation keepsake booklet with the 33 staff members, representing 11 guide dog training programs, who were there. You can view the contents of that publication here, http://guidedogusersinc.org/guide-dog-school-tribute-booklet/. Thank you to each one of you whose generous contributions helped to sponsor the event.

During the late spring and throughout the summer, GDUI spent time and energy attempting to address the California State Guide Dog board’s recent re-interpretation of its mission with respect to prohibiting unlicensed instructors from out-of-state International Guide Dog Federation-accredited schools from providing after-care (i.e., follow-up services) for their graduates who live in California. GDUI leaders and many members from across the country attended the board’s public meetings and spoke out to condemn this policy decision. At the GDUI convention, our board approved the submission of a resolution to ACB’s Resolutions Committee on this topic. We did submit the resolution, and it was adopted unanimously by the ACB convention. When we came back from convention, we wrote and mailed letters to the governor of California and to every assemblyman and woman and every state senator, explaining the issue and asking that the governor and the state legislators address the board’s practice of prohibiting instructors from the Seeing Eye from providing in—person follow-up services to their graduates who live in California. We will continue to work hard to persuade the California State Guide Dog Board of the recklessness of its decision and recent actions, and to persuade California government officials and legislators to curb the board’s over stepping of its mission and authority over programs not based in the state. If you live in California, I urge you to get involved and speak with your lawmakers and government officials to explain how the board’s actions could very well compromise the safety of guide dog users who live and work in California and choose – as is their right – to acquire their guide dogs from out-of-state programs.

The International Guide Dog Federation’s process for granting accreditation to guide dog schools is a rigorous one, recognized by more than 30 countries, including the USA, and we believe that instructors who work for IGDF-accredited schools have the skills, capabilities, and backing of a trusted authority that is at least as rigorous as that bestowed by the California State Board on instructors who receive their certification.

Presumably in an effort to placate GDUI and others who object to the Board’s re-interpretation of its authority and mission, the Board decided at its July meeting to create a task force with the mission of defining what is meant by “after-care.” GDUI was asked by the Board’s Executive Officer, Brian Skewis, to name a member to that task force, and we were pleased to name Carla Campbell. We are grateful to Carla for agreeing to serve in this role. She is an excellent representative, since she is an experienced guide dog user who lives in California and works with a guide dog recently acquired from the Seeing Eye.

Although we appreciate the Board’s recent decision to create a task force to define “after care” for guide dog teams as a gesture of conciliation, this limited effort fails to address the needs of those Californians who require immediate assistance from the schools where they obtained their training and their dogs, and cannot be construed as ‘consumer protection.

The American Council of the Blind Resolution 2015-15 and a copy of the letter we sent to California state legislators and to Governor Brown are included in this issue of PawTracks. Even for those of us who don’t live in California, this issue is an important one. We have friends who use guide dogs and live in the state, any one of us could for any number of reasons decide to move to California or to spend some time there as a student, an intern, a guest. And, as members of ACB and GDUI, we understand the importance of consumer choice with respect to training and services, and it is an affront to us and our belief in the importance of consumer choice for an entity to make rules that have the consequence of denying us that choice. Nothing about us without us!

Thank you all for your friendship and support. We are so proud to have been the winner of the American Council of the Blind’s annual award for the affiliate with the largest growth in membership! That signifies to those of us whom you have elected as custodian’s of GDUI’s governance that you believe in us and that you want to be involved with our goals and with one another. Nothing could make us happier. We held a board meeting at the end of September. We appreciate those GDUI members who attended.

Schedules become crowded when Fall arrives. No matter what’s on your schedule, we wish each one of you and each of your dogs safe and happy travels.

GDUI’s Letter to California Legislators:
I am writing on behalf of Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI), the leading membership organization of men and women who are blind and visually impaired, and who rely on guide dogs for independence and safety.

GDUI is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB). Like our parent organization, we advocate on behalf of people who are blind and visually impaired – in our case specifically, on behalf of people who choose to use guide dogs. We educate the general public regarding blindness, the capabilities and goals of people who are blind, about the handling and etiquette associated with guide dogs and about the laws and regulations that are meant to guarantee our civil rights as people with disabilities and in particular as guide dog users.

On Friday, July 3, 2015, over 1,500 GDUI and ACB members attending our 54th National Convention passed a resolution against the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind. We have long respected the California State Guide Dog Board, understood its reason for being, and acknowledge the standards of excellence that the Board strives to develop and administer. The excellence and reliability of guide dog training programs is as important to our members, most of whom partner with guide dogs and count on them to maximize our quality of life on a daily basis, as it is to members of the board. We commend the early efforts of the Board for developing standards for excellent training programs, stamping out fraud with respect to fund-raising for California-based guide dog training programs, and insisting on the highest standards for guide dog training programs and instructors. However, we believe that, recently, the Board has misinterpreted its mission with respect to monitoring follow-up services for guide dog school graduates, particularly with respect to guide dog training programs which are not based in California and which comply with the rigorous standards of excellence developed by the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), an internationally recognized body that accredits guide dog schools around the world.

GDUI considers the Board’s current aggressive interpretation of its mission with respect to requiring Board licenses for instructors who provide follow-up services for graduates an overreach of the board’s authority. It is certainly a dramatic departure from the way the board has addressed the provision of after-care services for guide dog teams who have graduated from schools not based in California during the majority of the Board’s history.

Many of our members live in California and have chosen to acquire guide dogs and training from out of state Guide Dog schools that are accredited by the IGDF. Denying or delaying the provision of after-care services to graduates of out of state programs who have a personal relationship with a particular school, understand its particular training regimen and know its staff, may put the safety of these guide dog handlers at great risk. At the very least, the Board’s current interpretation of its regulations appears to discriminate against Californians who choose to procure their guide dogs and training from out-of-state programs.

We want to stress that consumer choice is a guiding principle for both GDUI and ACB, and that the Board’s actions which disadvantage Californians who choose to attend out-of-state training programs violate a principle that is important to us.

As you evaluate the purview and future of the Board, We implore you to find a way for Californians who choose to acquire their dogs and their training from schools that are not based in the state to receive timely and appropriate follow-up services from instructors from their schools and to acknowledge that accreditation by the IGDF is rigorous and meaningful. We have urged the California State Guide Dog Board to reach a similar conclusion and to find a way to execute it, so as to put an end to the State mandated attenuation of services that a number of guide dog users who live in California and who received training from IGDF-accredited schools are now experiencing. The Board’s recent decision to create a task force to define “after care” for guide dog teams is appreciated as a gesture of conciliation. However, this limited effort fails to address the needs of those Californians who require immediate assistance, and cannot be construed as ‘consumer protection.’

Thank you for taking our concern into consideration and for acting to guarantee, as much as possible, the safety and viability of every guide dog team working in your state, regardless of whether or not a school’s instructors have received a license from the California State Guide Dog Board.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
President@Guidedogusersinc.org
Toll-Free 1-866-799-8436.

Attachment: American Council of the Blind Resolution 2015-15

American Council of the Blind
____________________________________________________

2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Tel: (202) 467-5081 Fax: (703) 465-5085
California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind
Resolution 2015-15

Whereas, around 1948, the California legislature created the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind (the board), pursuant to Section 7200.5 of the state’s Business and Professions Code; and

Whereas, the board rapidly developed procedures governing the development of guide dog training programs (called schools), fund-raising for such programs, and the licensing of the schools and their instructors; and

Whereas, thanks to the board’s efforts, California became the first and only state to mandate regulations for certifying the quality of guide dog training programs and the competency of instructors through a comprehensive examination and licensing procedure for California schools and their instructors and for instructors from out of state who seek to serve students in California even with after-care; and

Whereas, since 1989, the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), an international association of guide dog schools, which has grown to at least 80 member schools worldwide, has required its member schools to undergo an accreditation protocol that is at least as rigorous as the California state licensure requirements for guide dog schools and instructors; and

Whereas, in recent years the board has, contrary to its earlier practice, begun to strictly enforce state regulations that prohibit the activities of unlicensed instructors in California to the extent that instructors from IGDF-accredited schools, regardless of the demonstrated abilities of these instructors, or the accreditation from the IGDF achieved by these schools, are prohibited from providing after-care services to graduates of these schools unless the particular instructors providing such services have been individually licensed by the state of California, and board; and

Whereas, these practices punish California guide dog users for choosing to receive their training from out-of-state schools, including schools with a long-standing track record of providing outstanding services to their students, and

Whereas, an inability to receive after-care in a timely manner from instructors who have familiarity with their graduates and their dogs and who utilize guide dog training techniques familiar both to instructors and their graduates can put the safety of guide dog users who need after-care at great risk; and

Whereas, this treatment by the state of California clearly violates principles of consumer choice with respect to training which are universally upheld and valued by the American Council of the Blind;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the tenth day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, that this organization call on the legislature and governor of the state of California to enact legislation during the 2016 session to permit instructors employed by IGDF accredited schools to provide follow-up services to their graduate guide dog teams in California, without requiring these instructors to be licensed by the state; and

Be it further resolved that this organization call on the governor of the state of California to reach out to the board to create approaches to alleviating the dangerous situation described above by encouraging the creation of an interim approach that will allow after-care services to be delivered by out-of-state instructors; and

Be it further resolved that copies of this resolution shall be sent to the governor of the state of California, to the members of the California State Legislature, and to the members and Executive Officer of the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Adopted.
Ray Campbell, Secretary
*****
Thoughts From the Editor
Seasons and Transitions
by Nolan Crabb
Autumn is a season of often quiet introspection and contemplation. I don’t engage in all that angst-promoting life examination stuff; I prefer to do that as the new year approaches if at all. But autumn is that transitional breath between summer’s heat and winter’s chilly silence, both of which have much to offer. Autumn is that single place on the seesaw where everyone is as high as one can go before one end or the other drops. It’s that moment in life’s symphony when all the players in your personal concert quietly tune instruments in preparation for the next movement. It holds out summer’s memories and holiday promises all in the same graceful hand.

It was in the autumn 20 years ago that I received my first guide dog. In mere weeks, I will return for a replacement for Warner, who will adjust to a quiet life at home. This autumn then carries a special payload of memories of my first dog, which I received almost 20 years to the day from when I will receive my fourth one. Memories of that first dog and promises of great adventures with the newest one held by autumn in the same graceful hand.

In this issue, since transitions have been on my mind a great deal, we look at transitions as dogs retire or die from the perspective of three authors, one of whom is anonymous.

You may recall that last winter, I ran a column by a much-beloved and highly talented friend of mine who eloquently wrote about the merits of avoiding procrastination and thereby being excluded from the highly desirable pink cap group. Steve Eaton is back in this issue with two pieces, one that pays loving tribute to Sundance, the talking dog, and another that focuses on steps he took to fill the void left by the sudden and brutal death of Sundance. I think you’ll enjoy both pieces, and I’m honored to once again include his work here.

The award-winning Rebecca Kragnes is back with a well-written and thoughtful column on dog transitions as well. Ginger Kutsch has submitted a poem from an anonymous author that focuses on saying goodbye from the dog’s perspective.

There are stories that focus on events from the GDUI national convention, an informative piece that looks at how to minimize scavenging, and much more. As always, please provide any feedback, positive or otherwise, to me via email at nolan.crabb@gmail.com, and enjoy the issue.
*****
News Kibble From the Announcement Pouch
What does a working dog do when a working dog isn’t working? This question has been asked by an off Broadway producer and I know we all have answers to that one.

Would you have stories to share? “tails” can range from the raunchy to the ridiculous; from humorous to inspiring. Mention of school names is highly discouraged and identities of both human and dog shall be disguised to protect the guilty.

Send an email with your story to Maureen at
voicepro4u@verizon.net
. If possible, send an audio file attachment.
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SAVE The DATE
TOP DOG 2017
Sponsored by Guide Dog Users of Florida, Georgia Guide Dog Users and Dixieland Guide Dog Users

Event Dates: Thursday, January 12, 2017 through Sunday, January 15, 2017.

Location: Orlando, Florida, Holiday Inn and Suites Across From Universal Orlando

Room Rate: $89.00 per night with an additional 12.5% applicable taxes

Deluxe rooms are also available at reduced rates

Hotel rates are in effect three days prior and post event dates

We are bringing a very delicious and affordable food package

Guide Dog Users of Florida is excited to host Top Dog 2017 with the able assistance of our friends in Georgia Guide Dog Users and Dixieland Guide Dog Users. As we move forward with event planning, I will be sending out requests for your ideas for programming and fun activities, so start thinking about that. If you have questions or comments now, please feel free to contact me at the information below my signature.

Every Top Dog program brings us to a higher level. With your assistance and participation, we believe that Top Dog2017 will be no exception to this historical reality.

Please feel free to spread this announcement far and wide. All guide dog users and those interested in the movement are welcome to join us for exciting and educational programming and the opportunity to engage an meaningful fellowship and friendship building. Please plan to join us.

Respectfully,
Debbie Grubb, Event Coordinator

Kathleen Trutschel, Registrar

Debbie Grubb (h) (941) 281-2728 (m) (941) 228-6296
Debbiecgrubb1@gmail.com
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For information about dog relief areas at airports, visit the following website:
www.dogjaunt.com/guides/airport-pet-relief-areas/

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From the website click and treat comes a valuable reminder to not stack commands. The article has a 1994 copyright date, but its information is relevant. There are tips here on how to stop stacking commands and thereby get a faster response from your dog. Visit http://www.clickandtreat.com/dfogb7.htm to read the article.
*****
The GDUI Summer Drawing Report
by Robert Acosta
(Robert Acosta chairs GDUI’s fundraising committee)

The GDUI Summer Drawing was truly a great success. Together, we made a profit of $2,810.00 for Guide Dog Users, Inc.

The Fund-Raising Committee wishes to thank all persons who participated in this year’s Summer Drawing.

The Grand Prize Winner of $1,000.00 is Charles Navarrette of California.

Bob Collins of New Jersey won our First prize which is a $500 gift card.

Second Prize went to Phyllis Stevens of Tennessee who received a $500 Silpada Jewelry Card.

Our Third Prize of a Keurig Coffee Machine went to Mike Gravitt of Pennsylvania.

Our Fourth prize, a George Foreman Grill with removeable plates went to Darla Rogers of Missouri.

The Fifth prize a Sky-wave Radio donated by the C. Crane Company went to Katherine Bielfeldt of Illinois.

Our Sixth prize, which was a lovely chiming clock donated by Speake To Me went to Tyler Acosta.

Our Seventh prize, a Bose Wave Radio was sent to Vickie Prahin of Ohio.

Our Final Prize, donated by Travel One Cruise Company, is a basket containing beachwear along with a $500 gift card to be used on a cruise within one year was won by Toni Eames of California.

We conclude by thanking all of you who supported our Summer Drawing and very much look forward to a 2016 Summer Drawing.
*****
Get Ready for the Spring Radio Auction
Sunday, April 3, 2016 Spring Radio auction
Time: 7 to 9 pm EDT (4-6 pm PDT)
by Robert Acosta
On August 27, 2015, the board of directors of GDUI unanimously adopted a Motion to approve a project sponsored by the fundraising committee. We will be sponsoring a radio auction, using the facilities of ACB Radio.

We wish to thank Larry Turnbull and other outstanding ACB personnel for lending us their guidance along the way. Now, it is up to us GDUI members to provide, for this event, new prizes with a minimum value of 50 dollars.

Although we welcome new items for our prizes, we are providing them at the auction “as is.”

Please send all prizes with descriptions, with the exception of food items, to Robert Acosta, 20734C Devonshire St., Chatsworth, CA 91311. Phone: (818) 998-0044. Email: boacosta@pacbell.net.

Our first prize has already been promised by our President, Penny Reeder. Yes, Penny’s Kitchen will be shipping five dozen delicious cookies to the lucky winner. Description: Oatmeal with raisins, walnuts and chocolate chips!

A second prize, which we have collected, is from the C. Crane Company. It is a pocket radio with a carrying strap allowing you to go outside to hear the radio while barbecuing for example.

The deadline for the receipt of prizes is February 15, 2016. We expect in the future to put the prizes, with the descriptions and the donors names, on the GDUI website: www.guidedogusersinc.org.

At the time of the auction, credit cards will be the only acceptable form of payment. A reasonable shipping cost will be added to your winning bid.

The purpose for this auction shall be to provide the funding for our voting process in GDUI. Yes, we provide universal voting for all of our members. To my knowledge, we are the only ACB affiliate which does this. Let democracy prevail, and please support our radio auction with great prizes and strong bids.

Disclaimer: Guide Dog Users, Inc., is held harmless for any prizes which do not function as stated in the descriptions. However, we shall do what we can to encourage a fair relationship between the winning bidder and the prize donor.
*****
New! Frequently Asked Questions Publication from the Department of Justice
The U.S. Department of Justice has released a new publication called Frequently Asked Questions About Service Animals and the ADA. This multi-page publication provides additional guidance on the ADA’s service animal provisions. The publication is meant to supplement the DOJ’s earlier publication ADA Revised Requirements: Service Animals (reprinted in the Fall 2014 issue of PawTracks).

The new publication is divided into seven sections including Definitions, General Rules, Certification and Registration, Breeds, Exclusion of Service Animals, Miscellaneous, and Resources. These topics address common issues involving service animals such as going through a salad bar or other self-service food line; leaving service animals alone in hotel rooms; and allowing service animals in ambulances.

There are also questions and answers that focus on the appropriate behavior of service animals. This information could be very useful when educating businesses about when it is acceptable to exclude an animal from the premises. There are even questions about whether stores are required to allow service animals to be placed in a shopping cart, or if places that serve food or drink are required to allow service animals to be seated on chairs or allow the animal to be fed at the table.

To view the publication in its entirety or to download a copy in PDF, please visit
http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
*****
Preaching to the Choir
Goodbye is still Goodbye
by Rebecca Kragnes
The year 2015 has been a tumultuous one in our house. We started it with two dogs and a single amputee, and we may be ending it with a double amputee and no dogs. We’re saying goodbye to our dogs in two very different ways, and even though my Zane and Phil’s Garron have been dogs number four, the goodbyes are still just as painful. Whether through death or retirement, goodbye is still goodbye and very hard.

Many may already be aware that in February of this year, Phil somewhat unexpectedly lost his second foot due to the effects of Diabetes. He was moved to rehab late that Month, and his Shepherd “The Love Sponge” Garron joined him as soon as was feasible. Unlike the hospital environment, the acute rehab floor wanted to do everything they could to motivate Phil. They understood Garron was a big motivator! Many staff and patients were dog people missing their own, and there were mock fights about who got to take Garron outside. Probably the most touching moments were with a nurse who began taking him out while being afraid of dogs. Garron was lovable enough to allow her to trust him, and Phil told me the transformation was pretty incredible to watch.

Garron was also very intuitive, and it soon became apparent that he was great at guiding Phil’s chair. No, Phil didn’t expect it or correct any bumps, but Garron practically seemed to correct himself. The next time he approached a spot where he’d made a mistake, his guiding was flawless. This earned him new respect among the floor members.

Phil was due to come home on March 20, and he made arrangements for a ramp to be installed in our front yard. It was temporary, because Phil planned to get on two prosthetic feet as soon as possible to work his dog. As a quick aside, a little known fact is that ramps are much harder for amputees, because of no ankle control. After Garron was brought back to him on the morning of March 18th, he wouldn’t eat. Phil didn’t think a lot of it, because Garron regulated his diet himself. It bothered Phil how much and how hard Garron was panting, as he laid his head in Phil’s lap. Phil felt his stomach to ensure there was no bloat. It really worried Phil when he felt how ice cold Garron’s mouth was. Then Garron wouldn’t even take one of his very favorite treats – another sign something was terribly wrong. Phil started working the phones either trying to get Garron to the vet or a vet to Garron. It was seven in the morning, and as Phil tried in vain to get emergency help before opening time, Garron started out lying right beside the bed and gradually moved away. Apparently this is something pack animals do when they know they are going to die, so their death doesn’t draw predators and impact the rest of the pack. He finally got a hold of a co-worker to come get Garron for a short ride to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center. By the time she arrived, Garron couldn’t walk, so he was carried out of the building in an improvised sling made of sheets. Garron died in the backseat of the coworker’s car. Veterinarians performed an autopsy. Garron was posthumously diagnosed with cancer in the spleen, liver, and one chamber of his heart. The veterinarian suspected that a vessel had ruptured which caused internal bleeding and ultimately his death. Garron was nine years old.

I awoke late, as Zane was so flexible letting me sleep if I took him out late at night before I went to bed. I thought something was funny about a hang-up on our voicemail, but I called Phil just to say good morning. His voice sounded odd, and then he blurted out “Garron’s dead!” and began to cry. I told him I’d get up there as soon as I could and quickly spread the word on the social networks. I at least had the presence of mind to think about what really might help Phil and picked up some attachments he had ordered for his wheelchair. The physical therapists gave him a day of mourning, and I saw staff and patients stop in Phil’s room just to say how sorry they were. I met the woman who had been afraid of Garron and underwent such a dramatic change. Staff members were apparently crying as they went about their daily work. Phil and I listened to podcasts together, and I was right to bring the attachments to give Phil something to do and think about other than Garron. Phil was later presented with a card from the staff detailing thoughts about Garron. The vet hospital not only sent the ashes but a plaster cast of Garron’s paw print. The social networks were also busy with condolences, and some people even gave additional money on a GoFundMe page for the ramp in recognition of the loss of Garron.

Being at home was difficult enough with all of the machines and other routines, but none of that compared to the pain of Garron’s absence. Zane kept looking for Garron for a day or two. Phil’s been to the office a few times, but when he returns to work, that will probably bring the grief home again. In the meantime, Zane and Phil have developed a really close relationship. Phil has loved all my dogs, and they all knew he was a softy with them. However, his dogs were definitely dominant and took toys away or pushed mine out of the way. Zane was afraid of the wheelchair for the first few days, but now Phil calls Zane his “black side car”, and Zane asks for Phil’s attention even more than mine. I think Zane has comforted Phil in a way no one else really can during Phil’s continuing long recovery at home. Phil won’t be ready for a guide until next spring. it’s because of the relationship between Zane and Phil that I’m trying to hold off on retiring Zane until after Phil has gone back to work.

Zane is also nine years old and was about six months younger than Garron. In April he had a clean bill of health from the vet, and he doesn’t have any gray or white in his fur. In late May or early June, I started to notice that slow down in the street and generally acting less confident if he wasn’t following someone else. Obstacle courses made him unsure, and he stopped in hopes that someone would help us around them. He still comes for the harness, but I can tell he enjoys being a regular dog more than he enjoys his work now. I have my essay written for my next application, but I’m really having a tough time making myself apply and get the paperwork to the school. Staffers know his retirement is coming, and I’m grateful they are letting me do it when I feel it’s best. Sometimes I have those “Maybe this is my imagination” thoughts. However, I’ll get out with him and see my hunch confirmed again and again.

Things became even more clear when some little girls stopped to ask me questions about Zane outside of church one evening. Part of the discussion was an explanation of what it means for Zane to retire. Over the past few months, Zane and I have developed a friendship with a woman at church who is a retired teacher with a part-time side job and a 5-year-old Black Lab of whom she says Zane reminds her. She heard the conversation and later told me she would be honored if I would allow her to adopt Zane into her home. He gets along with most dogs, and even though we haven’t had the interaction between the two dogs yet, I’m 99 percent sure I have found his new home. I know some keep their retired dogs as pets, but I feel it’s more fair to the retired dog and the new one to give my attention and love to one at a time. Because church is where we met, I am considering having church or a ride from church being the ending point of his work and the beginning of his retirement.

Retirement or loss of a dog due to death are both painful times, and whether drawn out or sudden, goodbye is still goodbye. I lost my first dog to sudden illness, and Phil has had to make the difficult decision to retire a dog. It’s comforting to know we have each been through what the other is experiencing now. However, in the 19 years of our marriage, there has never been a time when neither of us has had a dog. So the next column is likely to focus on being … “Dogless in Minneapolis”.
*****
The Last Battle
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
and pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this–the last battle–can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand,
Don’t let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
What is to come can hold no fears
You’d not want me to suffer, so.
When the time comes, please let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me til the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
it is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We’ve been so close–we two–these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
-Author Unknown
*****
Sundance the Talking Dog is gone
By Steve Eaton , For the Deseret News
July 25, 2015, reprinted with permission
He was not just a dog.
He was Sundance the Talking Dog. He earned his “Talking Dog” nickname because he was a Basenji, a breed that is not supposed to know how to bark. But with Sundance, if there was an emergency, such as the need to claim a treat or acknowledge that a marvelous friend was at our front door, oh could he bark.

He didn’t yap. His one-time purposeful bark wasn’t just noise. It was an announcement.

Technically, Basenji trainer types would say he could only “bray” because Basenjis can’t bark. Our dog, however, was not just any Basenji. He was Sundance the Talking Dog.

He would bray when we came home because he was proud of the fact he had done a good job of being in charge of the whole house. We could tell it must have been extremely difficult for him to resist the urge to pull things out of the tiny waste baskets in our bathrooms and put them on display for us. He would make a joyful noise whenever my daughter visited because he was sure she was about the best person who ever lived on the planet and couldn’t believe she was at his house again!

Sundance just wanted to become lifetime friends with everyone.
He was like our own personal Secret Service dog in that he really would get frustrated if we went outside to mow the lawn, plow the snow or even get the mail without him. When we made foolish decisions like that, there was no way he could protect us.
His method of dealing with threatening strangers didn’t involve any sort of teeth-baring aggression, however. It was much more effective than that. His first step would be to get the intruder to sit down so that he could get his nose within one inch of their mouth. It’s been documented in many movies that often aliens will take on the appearance of a human or someone from Congress. It’s not widely known that if you get within an inch of an alien’s nose you can sniff him or her out. It can be awkward to do that, however, but we were lucky that Sundance would volunteer for the job. We never once had anything pop out of the chest of one of our friends when they visited, and I think that was due, in large part, to his diligence.
If we were outside, Sundance would watch from the window wondering why we couldn’t understand that he could protect us better if he was with us.
Once Sundance determined a visitor was not a threat to us, he would climb into their lap, communicating in the clearest way possible, as he looked up at them, that this was the greatest moment of his life and that he was ready to go live with his new friend and watch over them forever.
We didn’t take it personal because we understood how Sundance thought. His heart was so big, his love just had to be shared. We just knew that for Sundance, nothing could be more important than making a new friend. If offered a tasty treat at the same time a visitor appeared at the door, the new person would always win out.
Besides, he would have time for the treat later. He never gobbled them down. He would place them where he wanted them and test them out carefully to be sure they were not poison or celery before he ate them. He took his time with his treats and always returned to thank you when he was done with them.

Sundance was a good listener. He saw himself as a “good dog,” and that’s what good dogs do. They listen.

He was not just any dog.
Each day, Sundance would try to find a patch of sun so he could soak up some rays. That’s where his hugs came from. Sundance was always there for hugs. If you were home, hugs were available.
People who don’t have dogs can’t understand what it’s like to have a friend who is so consistently loyal and loving. Dog lovers know how important it can be to have at least one person in your life who thinks you are amazing every single day no matter what you do.

And yes, I did say a “person.” Sundance was not just a dog. He was a member of our family. That’s why it was unbelievably painful this week to scoop up his lifeless body from the street and rush him to a kind veterinarian who tried to revive him even though she knew from the start that her efforts would be futile. I took him to Bridgerland Cache Animal Hospital, the closest vet I could find. Even though Sundance was not on their rolls, they tried desperately to revive him. When the battle was over, they wrapped him in a tiny blanket and put him in a simple cardboard box that sort of looked like a coffin. A woman carried the box out to the car for me, a painfully symbolic move I couldn’t accept because I was still hoping he would get up, shake it off and trot out to the car on his own.

When we woke up that morning, we had no idea we had just begun our last day with him. We never imagined we’d be digging a little grave for him in the backyard before the day was over.

Adjusting is impossible. It’s a bad dream that won’t end. It’s like when you know the power is off and yet you still flip that light switch when you go into a darkened room. We keep looking for the light and love that he offered us. It’s gone.

I know many people will not understand. And it’s true that people who lose family members who aren’t dogs suffer a pain far deeper than we are facing now. For us, this pain is bad enough.

That’s because, to us, Sundance the Talking Dog was not just a dog. He was a person — a person we loved who is suddenly gone from our lives.

We will miss him.

Steve Eaton lives in Logan, Utah. He can be reached at
eatonnews@gmail.com
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company
*****
Man makes sacrifice to give his 2 best friends a better life
by Steve Eaton , For the Deseret News

A few weeks ago I wrote a column that paid tribute to our dog Sundance who was struck by a car and killed late last month. I now have a part two to that column.

Sundance was a Basenji and it turns out Basenji owners online are a very close-knit group. Basenji owners started sharing my column with their friends and I began receiving emails of support and encouragement from as far away as Sweden.

“Even though we live in Sweden with our two Basenjis, we still feel the pain as if it flew across the ocean and found us,” a kind woman wrote.

The emails really helped. It never occurred to me that so many others would empathize with what we were going through.

The most unusual life-changing email, however, came from a man who lives in Tucson, Arizona, named David Davis. He was moved by the column and wondered if we would adopt his two Basenjis. His health is failing and his doctors have told him he does not have long to live. He had been worried about how he would care for his dogs as it got harder for him to get around and had been concerned about what might happen to them if he died. For months, he had been wrestling with the feeling that he should find a home for them while he could.

So, he made his offer, and, after many emails and several long phone calls, we decided we would adopt them. We were excited at the prospect of having two new dogs to help us cope with our loss but we were also worried about what this would do to him.

We learned that because of a number of clearly unjust turns in his life, he found himself without much of a nearby support network. He says he has no close friends or family nearby. He had moved to Tucson in hopes he could find some relief for some of the many aliments that are wearing him down.

Many of you may not know this but every city in Arizona is required by law to be south of St. George. That means many of them are hotter than St. George. When we went through Phoenix, for example, they were evacuating the city because the temperature had reached 118 degrees.
Tucson was a cool 107 degrees, but we checked into an air conditioned hotel anyway. Then we went to meet our dogs. These are very smart dogs who were very suspicious of us at first and not at all like our last Basenji, Sundance. They had lived a simple life with our new Tucson friend, a life where money was in short supply but love was not.

The Grand Canyon was impressive but not nearly as remarkable as the love we witnessed as this strong man said tearful goodbyes to his best friends and watched us lead them away to our car. They didn’t understand they were saying goodbye to the man who had cared for them for years.

It was a long ride back, but the dogs never complained and now they seem to enjoy their new home. Nine-year-old Pipet is sort of like an incumbent senator who has been there and done that. She likes to be in charge, keep things mellow, quiet, take naps and really would rather not be told to do much of anything if it doesn’t involve getting treats or going on a walk (think junket for a senator).

Diesel is a very friendly and kind-hearted dog who seems to have been born to appear in action-oriented Mountain Dew commercials. We cannot give him access to credit cards because he would use his money to go skydiving, rock climbing and perhaps even whitewater rafting. Mountain biking might prove challenging, but I wouldn’t put it past him. When he sees other dogs he immediately drops flat to the ground so they can’t possibly see him and we assume he would completely take them down if he wasn’t on a leash. He probably should have been named Jet Fuel instead of Diesel.
And where’s the happy part of the story where I tell you that David was asked to be on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” and given enough cash that he could go to Disneyworld, get cured and adopt 101 dalmatians? That part is just not happening. David says he cries a lot, talks to his dogs even though they are not there and wishes things were different. That’s exactly where I was a few weeks ago before he contacted me. I didn’t want him to have to go through that so I’ve offered to return the dogs to him several times but he firmly believes he is doing what must be done for his only true friends in the world.

So, if you ever go through Tucson and see a tall bald-headed man with tattoos on his arms and legs, who looks like he could hold his own as an action-movie hero if he weren’t crying so much, that’s David. Take him out to lunch. And listen as he talks. This is no ordinary man. We are reminded of his strength every time we see Pipet and Diesel and are humbled to realize that because of David, these are no ordinary dogs.
Steve Eaton lives in Logan. He can be reached at
Eatonnews@gmail.com
*****
Dealing with scavenging issues in the working Guide
by Graham Buck, Assistant Director of Training, Guiding Eyes for the Blind
(Reprinted with permission from the Summer issue of the graduate newsletter.)
Scavenging issues in guides is something that is always worth offering more discussion about. It can be a difficult problem to deal with and there is no easy answer or instant fix. However with that said, there are some methods that can help to reduce this unwanted behavior in our working dogs. First though it is important for us to look at some basics with the dog in general, specifically in most cases the Labrador.

There are many types of distractions that individual dogs appear to have. Some dogs may be distracted over other dogs, while with others small birds may get their attention. Some dogs may be more aware of movement through their vision while others are more olfactory and tend to be distracted by the information that is coming through their noses. In any event distraction is a natural part of having a working dog. In many dogs distraction will hold value as a stress reliever, and if not redirected often enough will become problematic. In other words there is no perfect dog. The fact is that we are training dogs as guides and with that come some inherent behaviors or responses to different stimuli. A well trained dog will always need tending to in order to keep the work accurate and the dog in focus.

This can also be referred to as the natural working rhythm of the dog. What the dog feels like when it is working as it normally does.
Distraction can throw off or take the dog out of that rhythm. It is our job as handlers to help them get back into their rhythm through use of redirection. There of course are many different ways in which we can do this as a handler. Let’s explore some of the techniques and then go through a way to run practice sessions with or without sighted assistance.

With anything in dog training the more repetitions you can do when working on something the more it will hold. Negative reinforcement has its place but we should avoid using this as our only tool. Let us put our focus on attempting to redirect the dog onto something else. This will require work on our part but you should see some benefits carried over in the work. There is always the risk of using both positive and negative reinforcement in a manner that is not effective. We also have to be mindful and be sure we are attempting to pattern the dog to what we want or what we think the alternate behavior or choice should be. We can inadvertently pattern the dog to something completely different. Dogs are very intelligent beings and they often extrapolate something different from a lesson.

So one method might be to reward food, or praise when the dog orients away from the food by looking towards its handler. Or another method would be to be ready to give a collar correction when you feel the dogs head drop and reward it for getting back on track. Both have their merits but neither is fool proof. Let us try to bring together a combination of both but keeping the focus on the repetitions versus the technique.

We need to do practice sessions first before we can try to apply to normal every day type work. I would have the food in a Tupperware container with holes in it. You can also improvise with a zip lock bag. This will help the dog from getting a hold of the food and swallowing it, but will allow us to work up to random pieces of food on the ground.

Start by filling the container with something more low value like Cheerios, their own kibble or crackers. Remain about six to eight feet back from the food. Then back up and see if the dog will follow you without a cue. If not, then you can initially add in come or let’s go. Reward the moving away from the food with a verbal YES or CLICK. Then reward with food. Do several repetitions of this. Once the dog starts to pull away from the food more quickly add in the cue of LEAVE IT. Then mark and feed.

Gradually attempt to get closer and closer to the container. The idea is that we want the dog to be actively removing itself from the food rather than only looking away or focusing on the handler. Get as close as you feel comfortable with during this phase. Gradually start a short heeling exercise around the container. Focusing on if the dog is following you, keeping its head up and or moving away from the food all together. Stop and Mark at any point you detect this. Don’t worry you may misjudge or your timing may be off but because the food is concealed you should be okay. The worst scenario is that they will pick up the container. Still better than eating all the food.

After the heeling exercises proceed to putting the container at a location where you have to work by it to a target such as an outside door etc. As you work the dog through read your dog and mark when you detect the dog is staying in focus. If you’re timing is off or you feel you lost the opportunity to reward, use a light collar correction to re-direct the dog. If the dog goes by and right to the target focus on rewarding the target heavily. We are trying to convey to the dog, don’t do that, do this instead and the reward will be greater. Avoid using the cue of LEAVE IT unless you feel the dog make an attempt at going for the food. Stay aware that this is a cue and not a reprimand. If you use LEAVE IT as a reprimand then the cue will lose some of its validity.

When you feel ready you can transition to leaving free food on the floor but I would have done a lot of repetitions with the containers first. You can also utilize multiple containers. This helps the dog with generalizing. You can always go back to the earlier lesson on leash if you feel the dog is not picking up on this. Remember reward strongly if the dog pulls itself away from the food when you back up. If the dog is straining on the collar in anyway, avoid rewarding until you feel some slack. A light collar correction can be used if necessary. Again this method is not fool proof either but it will give you some tools to practice with. Gradually start adding in higher value items like cheese, chicken, old pizza etc. I would suggest using the higher value treats to reward with as well at least initially to assist with getting the behavior. Then you could go to just kibble or Charlie bears.

Scavenging is a difficult issue; but, with practice and repetitions, you will be able to keep the problem at a manageable level. If you just let the problem slide or use correction the dog is apt to try again. My advice is to focus on getting repetitions in with the exercises. The more you do this the more likely it will carry over in the real world. Now we just need to breed a lab that doesn’t like food. Happy training. Enjoy the summer.
Graham
*****
Harnessing the Power of Your Guide Dog Then and Now: A History of Harnesses
by Nolan Crabb
So you’re about to make that quick run with your dog. Without thinking about it, you grab the leash, snap it in place, then the harness, and off you go. But did you ever think much about how that harness evolved into what you use today? If you were back in Charles Dickens’s London, what would you use to communicate with and control your dog? After all, Dickens briefly references blind men and their dogs in his classic A Christmas Carol.

Those attending the GDUI convention this summer in Dallas participated in a session conducted by The Seeing Eye’s Lucas Franck who talked about the history of guide dog harnesses going back as far as the 13th century A.D.

One of Franck’s earliest images from the 13th century depicts a handler with a cane or staff in one hand being held to protect his face and upper body; the other hand holds a leash with a German Shepherd at the end of it, pulling the blind person. Another image depicts a handler with the leash around his waist. Yet another image depicts a 13th-century Chinese man being pulled by a dog on a leash.

According to Franck, harness evolution took a step forward in Austria in 1819. That harness included a broom handle-like poll that connected to the dog’s collar. The rigid poll meant the blind user could more easily determine when the dog stopped or when it went up or down steps.

“The problem with ropes and leashes and stuff is is it’s hard to tell which way the dog’s going, it’s hard to tell when the dog stops, and it’s hard to tell whether the dog is going up or down steps,” Franck explained. “But it’s a heck of a lot better than nothing.”

Franck says the real evolution in harness creation began after World War I. Thousands of veterans were blinded by the use of mustard gas in numerous countries. Franck explained that World War I. actually created significant demand for guide dogs, and the Germans, he said, had achieved significant steps forward in training dogs.

“What they used dogs for was, among other things, tracking. So they developed a tracking harness with a center attachment point so they could hold the leash and let the dog run and track very similar to what is still used today.”

Postwar harnesses were triangular in shape, and resembled the tracking harnesses. “They were very short,” he” explains” “about 12 inches long, not very efficient, but it was a start.”

He says not only were harnesses different, but the tasks required of the dogs were different as well.

“Essentially what they did in the early days was they would warn of threat, and then you would use your cane to figure out what that threat was,” he explains. If the handler were approaching steps, for example, the dog would sit at the top or bottom of the steps, and the handler would use the cane to better understand why the dog sat.

Early harnesses used well into the 1930s were soft and flexible, often allowing the handler to get ahead of the dog.

As he passed around examples of harnesses used over the decades, he pointed out the criteria that comprises a modern harness:

“The modern harness, of course, as you all know,” he says, “is characterized by several things: First, two contact points—one on either side of the dog. There’s also a rigid handle of various lengths and offsets, and typically a horizontal grip.”

But harnesses look different in different parts of the world. The British harness, a derivation of which is used at Guide Dogs of Texas, is very different from the majority of designs in use in the U.S.

Franck says modern harness designers strive for harnesses that are comfortable for the dog to use over long distances. Designers must also create a harness that is comfortable for the handler—one that provides reliable information. Even the way the harness handle is held can determine how reliable the information coming through the harness is. Newer harnesses are becoming more ergonomic and include more intricate designs that impact the distance and angle between the dog and handler. A Swedish-designed harness allows the handle to be lengthened or shortened. An example of a German harness he passed around included a rather lengthy handle. A Japanese design makes the harness handle look like a marshmallow roasting fork—one end on each side of the dog, moving back to a single point held by the handler.
*****
How Many Purposes Does Your Guide Dog Serve?
by Nolan Crabb
Guide dogs aren’t guide dogs only; they’re often therapy dogs. That’s the assertion of Robert Wendler, director of Canine Operations, Guide Dogs of the Desert. “In a sense,” he insists, “every working guide dog has other jobs to do.”

Wendler says while mankind has benefited from the services of dogs for millennia, only in recent years are we truly exploring all of the benefits of dog ownership. Speaking at the 2015 GDUI convention in Dallas, Wendler encouraged his listeners to “check in with yourself” if your dog is misbehaving. “We may be creating whatever that dog’s issue is,” he explains.

Wendler described some of the people with whom he has worked and talked about areas where the guide dog took on additional duties. A diabetic asked whether the dog could be trained to detect blood sugar drops and alert the handler. Wendler, with the help of some associates, ultimately successfully trained the dog to sit if it detected blood sugar levels to be unsafe.

“As a guide dog,” he recalls, “this dog was taught to do intelligent disobedience and basically cross in front of her and say ‘we’re not going anywhere; it’s not safe.’”

More recently, Wendler says he trained a guide dog to assist a handler with severe rheumatoid arthritis by pulling her into a standing position. The dog also does some bracing and some retrieval work. Another handler benefits from the help of a guide dog who, if the handler falls, lies down and allows the handler to brace himself against the dog’s back while it stands and assists the handler to a standing position.

Wendler says guide dog use doesn’t have to be limited by age. One handler with whom he works is 90 and “travels at about the rate of 20 feet per hour.” She got her first dog in 1949 from The Seeing Eye; her current poodle is dog number 14. Despite being bent severely by arthritis and using a support cane, she is able to work the dog with a special harness. The dog takes two steps, waits for her to catch up, then takes two steps more. She insists the dog is one of the reasons she remains alive, according to Wendler.

Wendler described another handler who had worked horses until he was blinded in Afghanistan. Once broken and nearly defeated, today the handler uses his guide dog to guide not only him but his horses. Today, he is highly regarded for his cowboy work in Arizona.

Nicole Meadowcroft, president of Custom Canine Service Dog Academy, described a handler who had severe balance issues resulting from an auto accident years ago and a series of small strokes more recently. He was unable to walk a straight line, and he needed a support white cane in addition to the dog. Meadowcroft says her organization built on the foundation of the guide dog training such that the handler ultimately could again travel independently. Prior to the introduction of the dog, she says the handler’s activity predominantly consisted of trips between the living room, the kitchen, and the bathroom. Meadowcroft says other dogs have worked with National Guard members and other veterans to help relieve stress while providing balance and similar support. She says her organization has trained dogs to do nightmare interruption—a process that includes awakening a handler who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and interrupting an escalating nightmare.
*****
The Weekly Telephonic Announcements are Going Strong
by Robert Acosta
I am writing this article to remind those without computer access and those who just want to hear a human voice that the Weekly Telephonic Announcements are still available for our members and nonmembers alike.

The telephone number is (646) 653-1900. The telephone system has some shortcut keys to help you. Pressing Key 2 rewinds 30 seconds. Pressing Key 3 fast forwards 30 seconds. Pressing 8 pauses the announcements and pressing 8 again resumes them. Should you wish to interrupt the announcements to leave a message, press zero and follow the prompts. Remember to press 1 to save your message. You can also wait until the end of the announcements and you will hear a beep and prompts to create and save your message.

At the beginning of each weekly announcement we give full instructions for using the telephone system.

I want to conclude by thanking those who communicate with me by writing letters or by leaving kind messages regarding your appreciation for these announcements. I would like to thank our National President for finding the time from her busy schedule to present us with a weekly message. We try to change our announcements every Tuesday. So, join us and happy listening!
*****
GDUI Affiliate Meeting Summary, October 15, 2015
by Debbie Grubb, GDUI Affiliate Liaison
The GDUI Affiliate presidents and leaders met on Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 11:00 AM and 9:00 PM Eastern Time via teleconference.
The following affiliates were represented: Guide Dog Users of Florida; Georgia Guide Dog Users; Pine Tree Guide Dog Users; Guide Dog Users of New York;
Dixie Land Guide Dog Users; Guide Dog Users of Washington State.
President Penny Reeder and a guest from the state of New Jersey also participated in the meeting.
I wish to take this opportunity to publicly thank Penny for presiding as I was having some throat issues.
The first order of business at both meetings was to determine the best time during which to schedule our teleconferences. It was unanimously decided by those attending both meetings that due to the low attendance during the 11:00 AM time slot and because those attending at 11:00 AM are willing and able to join the 9:00 PM teleconference, that the 11:00 AM meeting will be discontinued. Those present and voting also agreed that it will be easier to bring in guests from around the country for one meeting. The meeting will, therefore, take place on the third Thursday of even numbered months at 9:00 PM Eastern Time.
All present and voting fervently agreed that the focus of the work of this group should be centered on the continuing issues of service animal fraud. It was astounding to learn that those who use equipment fraudulently sold may face charges while those making and selling the equipment face no charges as they are exercising the right of free enterprise. Other problematic areas are restaurants and facilities that pride themselves on being pet friendly and well-meaning physicians who provide certificates to people who simply wish to be accompanied by a pet with no task training to mitigate the effects of their particular disabilities. There is a blur in the minds of law enforcement officers, business owners and the general public regarding emotional support, therapy and service animals. Some of the suggestions for moving forward with this work were to: contact the National Chamber of Commerce in order to begin a working relationship with them; contact the ACB Lions affiliate in order to seek their assistance with working with Lions Clubs around the country; contact the Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Restaurant Association.
The following text was prepared by Betsy Grenevitch, President of Georgia Guide Dog Users, summarizing the excellent report that she brought to the meeting explaining the work that the Georgia affiliate is doing regarding this very troublesome issue.
(beginning of text)
The Steps of Trying to Get Attention About a Topic Such as Fake Service Animals
As has been noticed through the country, fake service animals have been causing problems for legitimate guide and service dog handlers. In Georgia, as have other states, we decided it was time to do something about it. I hope that the steps I am going to share with you will give you some ideas as to how you can get something accomplished in your respective state no matter what the issue may be.
1. Schedule an opportunity to present your issue to a civic organization such as a Lions Club especially if it is a blind-related issue such as a guide or service dog situation. I happened to mention the problem at a Lions Club meeting where I am a member. Some people in the Club became interested and wanted to know how they could help.
2. Find people who have experienced the problem or situation you are wanting to correct. In our case, we found a Lions Club member who had a relative who had purchased fake service animal paraphernalia to use on the dog to make it look like a service animal. The member knew this was wrong and wanted to help us get this resolved for all fake service animals.
3. find a state of federal representative or senator. Depending on whether it is a state of federal law you are wanting to pass, you need to find someone in the legislature who is willing to carry such a law for you. Some members in the Lions Club knew a state representative who they thought might carry such a bill and he was willing to do that for us.
4. Schedule a public meeting to present the issues you want to get resolved. The member of the Lions Club who really wanted to get involved with this issued helped invite key people to a public meeting which was being held during a regularly scheduled Lions Club meeting. We had the Chief of police, a judge, the one representative willing to carry the bill, and other key city and county people present. We also invited newspapers, the restaurant association, and made it known by word of mouth that this meeting was taking place. We were hoping to get it in the paper but that did not happen.
5. Invite people who are having similar issues to the meetings to give testimony of their experiences and why the issue needs to get resolved. I was the only member with a guide dog who was present but two other members of Georgia Guide dog Users participated via the phone and were able to speak to those present at the meeting.
6. Be sure to hand out information to the key people that will help them either understand the issue or give information on how you feel it can be resolved. We handed out printed copies of the DOJ’s Q&A document as well as GDUI’s model law concerning fake service animals.
7. We realize the need to Educate. We realize the need for education concerning guide and service animals. Because we took the time to invite the Georgia Restaurant Association, we have already been invited to do a small phone training for the staff of the association. Our next event with them is doing a webinar for the entire state on guide and service animals.
Because of a meeting that I, along with two members of my Lions club , had with a chief of police in my county, we have been told there is interest in putting together a webinar for the policemen to watch about guide and service animals.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at
770-464-0450 or you can email me at
blindangel@joimail.com
I hope this will encourage and inspire you to move forward on issues you may be facing in your state.
(end of text)
This report brought about much discussion as all affiliate leaders present are also working diligently in this arena. It was decided that at future meetings guests with expertise and insight into this matter from the worlds of business, law enforcement, legal and legislative professionals and other fields of expertise that may be suggested will be sought and invited to speak with us. Affiliate leaders were asked to suggest any people with whom they have worked whose wisdom and understanding of any aspect of this issue and what drives it may be beneficial to this work. The model Service Animal Fraud Law prepared by ACB staffers, Melanie Brunson and Eric Bridges, in company with the Chair of the GDUI Legislative Committee, Ginger, Kutsch, will be resent. Please find it attached to this meeting summary post.
The final item under discussion was the ACB/Affiliate/special interest affiliate dues structure. This issue was raised by the New York affiliate in an effort to help them come to terms with the dues fiscal note that they will have to take on should they decide to re-affiliate with ACBNY and ACB. Most of the affiliate leaders expressed the opinion that it is the cost of doing business, that many benefits come from affiliating with the national and state organizations, and that the fiscal note isn’t truly significant as a once a year commitment. Others did say that it is almost impossible to use the money collected from dues to fund the work of the organization. The state of Florida has a different dues structure and I asked Doug Hall, President of the Florida Affiliate, to outline that process. The text below was provided by him to recreate his explanation of the Florida dues structure. It is important to note that the impetus that brought about this dues process was more about the voting structure than the fiscal note.
(beginning of text)
Due to people voting more than once (if you belong to four chapters, you have four votes), the Florida Council of the Blind decided to establish two major classes of membership, Primary and Secondary, to limit a person’s influence. A person may be a primary member in only one chapter. Memberships in all other chapters would be as a secondary member. This means that a primary member may only vote once, with his or her primary chapter. In addition, that chapter pays state and national dues for that member. However, if a person is a secondary member of a chapter, his or her membership does not count for the purpose of voting on the state level and the chapter need not pay state and national dues for that person. In short, a chapter could have 50 members, 40 as primary and 10 as secondary. For the purpose of state membership rosters, that chapter has 40 members, only those that are primary.
Below is wording, which has been taken from the Bylaws of FCB and GDUF.
FCB Bylaws
Article E, Membership
E. Any eligible individual of more than one (1) Chapter may only be registered (this includes payment of FCB and ACB dues) and be counted once with their primary Chapter on the FCB membership roster. An FCB officer is also entitled to one (1) vote on FCB issues either as an officer or as a member of their primary Chapter. A primary Chapter is the only Chapter that can count an individual as a vote on FCB issues.
GDUF Bylaws
Article I, Membership
F. There shall be two (2) classes of membership, primary and secondary. Primary members are listed as members of FCB, as well as GDUF and GDUI. Secondary members are listed as members of GDUF and GDUI only.
(end of text)
The next meeting of the GDUI affiliate presidents and leaders will take place on Thursday, December 17 at 9:00 PM Eastern Time. A meeting reminder post will be sent including the conference call information.
Respectfully submitted,
Debbie Grubb
GDUI Affiliate Liaison
*****
Where has this year gone?
It is hard to believe that 2015 is fast coming to a close. I hope that you have had a good year and enjoyed many special times with your friends, families, and of course, your special guide dogs.

It is time for us to renew our membership in GDUI. It has been a busy year for our organization and we trust that you will renew for 2016 and join us in the various activities and goals for 2016.

If you have any ideas of what you would like to see happen in GDUI in 2016 please pass them on. I can be reached at
membership@guidedogusersinc.org
or by phone at 770-464-0450.

Please read on to find out what we accomplished in 2015 and our goals for 2016.

Because of your support, GDUI was able to achieve the following goals in 2015:

Restored the traditional values that have guided GDUI since
its beginning (i.e., concentrating on the issues that bring us together as an organization rather than on conflicts that occurred in
the past);
Developing a policy to address the problems associated
with people passing their pets off as service animals
Assisting members to develop self-advocacy skills
via webinars, interaction with our Advocacy Committee and
GDUI empathizers, and in articles planned for inclusion in PawTracks.

Please spread the word about what is happening in GDUI and encourage other guide dog handlers to get involved in the exciting work that is taking place in this affiliate. It is because of members like you that we have the funds to continue advocating for the rights and needs of guide dog handlers. Please help us make 2016 and even greater year.

At the last GDUI Board meeting it was approved that we could offer what we are calling an “Early Bird Special”. If you pay your dues between September 1 and December 31 and you are not already currently a member it will count for the rest of this year and the following year. Please spread the word to potential members of GDUI.

If you want to get a head start and join before you receive the renewal letter from GDUI’s Secretary and Office Manager Sarah Calhoun, here is the application to fill out to rejoin for 2016.

GUIDE DOG USERS, INC.
MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION

Name(s):___________________________________________

Address:___________________________________________

City:____________________ State:____ Zip:__________

Primary Phone number, with area code: ________________

Alternate Phone number, with area code: _________________

Primary E-Mail address: ___________________________

Alternate E-Mail address: ____________________________

$______ GDUI membership dues, $15.00 per year (includes PawTracks subscription) or

$______ stand-alone subscription to PawTracks without GDUI membership, $25.00 per year, or

$______ GDUI life membership, $250 per person (may be paid in monthly installments via credit card)

Additional donation to GDUI (optional): $_______ (We will send you both a “thank you” letter and end of year statement for your tax purposes)

Checks should be made payable to GDUI, and sent to:

Sarah Calhoun, Secretary
Guide Dog users, Inc.
3603 Morgan Way
Imperial MO 63052-4106

If you would prefer to submit payments via credit card, you may do so by going to www.guidedogusersinc.org or by calling (866) 799-8436.
We accept Visa and MasterCard.

If you plan to join GDUI through one of our state affiliates, you need not send money directly to us, since the affiliate treasurer will do so. Please contact us for a current list of our affiliates.

To comply with postal regulations when we send you items via the U.S. Postal Service, we need information concerning your degree of visual impairment (we are allowed to use “Free Matter For The Blind” in lieu of paid postage only for people who are legally blind)

______Legally or totally blind ______Fully sighted

Format preference for mailings from GDUI:

______Braille ______Large print
(We will use e-mail whenever possible)

Format preference for PawTracks:

____E-Mailed RTF attachment + a link to download MP3 files of each article

_____4-track NLS-format cassette (for legally or totally blind members only)
Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI) is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB). Therefore, members of GDUI are members of ACB. As a member, you are entitled to receive ACB’s magazine, the Braille Forum.

If you are not currently receiving the Braille Forum or wish to change the format in which you receive it, please check one of the following:

______Braille ______4-track cassette

______large print _____text files on a CD

To receive The Braille Forum via e-mail, send a message to
brailleforum-l-subscribe@acb.org

Thank you for your interest in and support of Guide Dog Users, Inc. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments at (866) 799-8436.

Submitted by Membership Chair,
Betsy Grenevitch
membership@guidedogusersinc.org
*****
Treasurer’s Report September 20, 2015
This report contains breakdowns for the months of June, July and August, 2015 because a report was not provided for the July, 2015 meeting which was held in Dallas, and this is the first Board meeting subsequent to the July meeting. It also contains a comprehensive breakdown of the income and expenses known to date for the convention in July. As of today, I have not received a breakdown of the income and expenses from ACB.

I would like to first thank Sarah Calhoun for her assistance in preparing this report. Sarah graciously assumed many of the duties of the Office Manager and jumped in enthusiastically to gather and maintain the income and expenses from June 1, 2015 to the present and to present them in a succinct fashion.

June 2015 Report

INCOME:
Summer Drawing: $380.00
Dallas stuff dog raffle: $165.00
Tribute booklet sponsorships: $1,715.00
Membership 2015 dues: $90.00
Products sales: $135.00
Shipping of products: $18.00

Grand total June income: $2,503.00

EXPENDITURES:
Membership business cards: $79.95
VOTE NOW 2015 voting and tabulations: $1,828.66
Carrollton credit card processing fees: $75.75
Pay Pal processing fees: $10.59
Verizon: $27.83
Product mailing: $5.75
Product purchase: $815.26
Production of PawTracks 2015: $280.00
Voiat web master: $404.00

Grand total June expenditures: $3,527.79

Capitol One:
Previous balance May 31, 2015: $15,749.17
Deposits: $764.36
Expenditures: $739.80
Ending balance June 30, 2015: $15,773.73

Carrollton Bank:
Previous balance May 31, 2015: $7,962.93
Deposits: 1,123.00
Expendetures: $2,616.24
Ending balance June 30, 2015: $6,449.69

Pay Pal:
Previous balance: $1,017.00
Ending balance: $1,027.59
July 2015 Report

INCOME:
Donations (unspecified):$287.00
Summer drawing: $510.00
Dallas stuff dog raffle: $120.00
Membership 2015 dues: $165.00
Membership 2016 dues: 15.00
Life membership: $250.00
Product sales: $2,867.50
Product shipping: $78.00
GDUI Guide Dog School reception ticket: $17.00
Silent auction: $3,930.00
Start up cash for GDUI suite: $60.00

Grand total July income: $8,299.50

EXPENDETURES:
Winner of summer drawing: $1,000.00
Carrollton and Square Card Credit card processing fees: $255.69
Pay Pal processing fees: $22.76
D & O Insurance: $998.00
Verizon: $38.00
Product shipping: $187.85
Product refund: $18.00
Hotel for two rooms and GDUI suite: $1,492.68
Room upgrade for the Louisville Ladies: $120.00
Start up cash for GDUI suite: $60.00
Production of tribute booklet: $108.68
GDUI reception – cake: $107.98
Easy to read braille program: $337.50
Production of PawTracks: $240.00

Grand total July expenditures: $4,987.14

Capitol One:
Previous balance June 30, 2015: $15,773.73
Deposits: $7,362.64
Expenditures: $1,867.14
Ending balance July 31, 2015: $21,269.23

Carrollton Bank:
Previous balance June 30, 2015: $6,449.69
Deposits: $81.00
Expenditures: $2,365.58
Ending balance July 31, 2015: $4,165.11

Pay Pal:
Previous balance: $1,027.59
Ending balance: $1,050.35

August 2015 Report

INCOME:
Donation through Mission Fish: $1.00
Donation through ACB Monthly Monitary Support (MMS): $120.00
Membership 2015 dues: $45.00
Product sales: $250.00
Product shipping: $42.00
Silent auction: $233.00

Grand total August income: $691.00

EXPENDITURES:
Carrollton credit card processing fees: $62.60
Pay Pal fees: $7.37
Verizon: $28.40
Shipping products: $51.75
GDUI mailing of auction and raffle items: $138.71

Grand total August expense: $288.83

Capitol One:
Previous balance: $21,269.23
Transfer from Pay Pal to Capitol One: $975.94
Ending balance $22,246.17

Carrollton Bank:
Previous balance July 31, 2015: $4,165.11
Ending balance as of August 31, 2015: $3729.62

Pay Pal:
Previous balance: $1,050.35
Transferred from Pay Pal to Capitol One: $975.94
Ending balance: 74.41
First Georgetown balance as of May 22, 2015: $119,154.00
First Georgetown balance as of September 18, 2015: $113,858.00
*****
GDUI Board Meeting Minutes
May 30, 2015

In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President; Will Burley, First Vice President; Maria Hansen, Second Vice President; Sarah Calhoun, Secretary and Lynn Merrill, Treasurer.
Directors:
Bob Acosta, Ann Chiappetta, Vickie Curley, Betsy Grenevitch and Dixie Sanderson.
Nolan Crabb, PawTracks Editor
Debbie Grubb, Affiliate Liaison.
Pat Hill, Guide Dog School Liaison
Excused absence: Jane Sheehan, Director
Unexcused absence: Laurie Mehta, Immediate Past President.

President Penny Reeder opened the meeting with welcoming remarks.

The roll call was taken by Maria Hansen, Second Vice President.

The board approved the meeting agenda.

Agenda item: Approval of minutes
The March 28, 2015 GDUI board meeting minutes were approved.

Agenda item: Committee reports

Note: Please find a list of all committee reports attached at the end of these minutes.

Bob Acosta reported the fundraising committee met with Mr. Kyle Kiper who is organizing a cruise with other groups in November, 2015. He is seeking to donate $40.00 per reserved cabin; he hopes to fill 20 cabins, with donations going to GDUI. Mr. Kiper received GDUI’s tax information.

The board approved all committee reports.

Agenda item: Grant writer

Bob Acosta stated we need to give our grant writer, Jo Steigerwald some direction.

Debbie Grubb made a motion to do further research in the need, process and cost of pursuing a service mark for GDUI products and copy. A report of the findings will be submitted to the board during the September, 2015 meeting.
Bob Acosta seconded the motion. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion unanimously passed.

Ann Chiappetta will recruit members to help in the project.

Debbie Grubb made a motion for the board to direct Jo Steigerwald to seek funding for an award of convention attendance to a worthy first-timer. If we acquire a grant for this project Bob Acosta’s committee will formulate the details of the competition.
Vickie Curley seconded the motion. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion unanimously passed.

Agenda item: Writing Thank You Letters to Donors and the Donor Database.
GDUI received a $25.00 donation from a generous member and a $1,500.00 donation from the Stern Foundation. President Reeder wrote thank you letters to both donors.

We need to put in place a process in writing thank you letters for all donations.

President Reeder, Maria Hansen, Lynn Merrill, Bob Acosta, Betsy Grenevitch and someone from the publications committee will look into starting a data base of all donations and write thank you letters. This item will be revisited either during the July or September, 2015 board meeting.

Agenda item: The “Harnessing Information” Project

Pat Hill, Dixie Sanderson and Vickie Curley suggest GDUI provide mentors from as many guide dog schools as possible. The mentors would be available for those who may be considering getting a guide dog for the first time, or for those who might want to change schools. Members could talk to a mentor who attended the school and inquire about the training program and other specifics.

An application to become an objective mentor would be required.

Vickie Curley made a motion for the board to approve Pat Hill, Dixie Sanderson and herself to pursue a mentorship program and develop guidelines for creating an advisory committee for people who are interested in getting a guide dog for the first time, and/or learning about various schools. The committee will submit their report to the board at the end of summer, 2015.
Bob Acosta seconded the motion. Prior to voting by a roll call, discussion took place.
There were three “yes” votes, three “No” votes and three abstentions. Motion failed.

Agenda item: Convention Program Updates

Lilian Scaife reported everything is on schedule. She thanked Will Burley for correcting the issues on the website. All convention information, except the menu, is on the convention page: sponsorships, raffle, summer raffle and the program schedule. The menus will be posted soon.

The deadline for the sponsorships has been changed to June 12, 2015.

Members of the Program Committee who are attending the convention will meet for a meeting on Saturday, July 4, 2015 in the GDUI suite.

The room numbers for the affiliate and board meetings will be announced later.

Lilian thanked members and vendors who donated items for the silent auction. There will be many wonderful items. A catalog of the auction items will be posted before June 15, 2015 on GDUI’s website. Items will be added to the catalog as they are received. Members not attending the convention will be able to call into the GDUI suite and place their bids. At the end of each day the final bids for that day will be posted on the GDUI website.

Winners of auction items who are not present at the convention, GDUI will mail the items to them, except for liquor items. Liquor is not allowed to be mailed via USPS.

The committee is reaching out to a few puppy raiser clubs in the Dallas area. The committee is looking for GDUI members as volunteers for the Ambassador Club.

Vet Techs will be in the GDUI suite to clip dog nails and clean ears at no charge. The day and time will be announced.

Dog massages will be available by appointment. The cost is $20.00.

Agenda item: Tweeting at Convention

GDUI is looking for volunteers to tweet during the convention on the GDUI twitter Feed: @gduinc.
ACB is recruiting volunteers they assign one or two people to different segments of the day. This way it won’t tie up your iPhone, attention all day long. You can choose the morning, afternoon or evening.

If anyone is interested, contact Lilian Scaife via Email at: programs@guidedogusersinc.org and put “Tweeting” in the subject box.

During convention, Ann Chiappetta will be posting convention updates on the GDUI Face Book page.

Agenda item: The 2014 GDUI Policy Resolution concerning GDUI’s Convention and Participation at ACB Convention.

President Reeder made a motion to rescind the policy. The policy was posted to the board prior to this meeting.
Betsy Grenevitch seconded the motion. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion unanimously passed.

Agenda item: Old business

President Reeder asked Bob Acosta to represent GDUI at the nominating committee. Penny will be on the convention floor as often as possible. She is asking for a second. Will Burley might be able to be her second and will get back with her.

Agenda item: New business

Bob Acosta made a motion for the fundraising committee to be able to seek sponsors for the 2016 GDUI convention in cooperation with the convention program committee.
Will Burley seconded the motion. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion unanimously passed.

At this time, the meeting was open to members for comments.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary

Attachment: Committee Reports
GDUI May 2015 Committee Reports

Please note: The reports are listed in alphabetical order by the name of the committee and separated by ****.

****
Advocacy Report:
Good morning, all, No major updates from the Advocacy committee. We have a draft of a document on out-of-control dogs that we will present when it’s done.
There was a recent communication on the Bed and Breakfast front with indication that this is something we can and should pursue and some strategy for following up.
Hope to see many of you in Dallas!
Becky Barnes-Davidson, chair
Advocacy Committee

****
Affiliate Presidents’ and Leaders’ Meeting Summary
May 21, 2015

(Note) There was no affiliate who had not been represented at the AM meeting who attended the PM meeting. As a result, the guests and those who returned to the PM meeting and Vivian Conger who joined the call were thanked and the call ended. As you will see from the list of participating affiliates below, attendance was very low. The meeting was most worthwhile due to the information brought by our guests and the subsequent discussion that took place. As all of you know, you are welcome to designate any member in good standing from your affiliate to represent it on these calls. The purpose of building a sense of collaboration and sharing information and insights with one another is only as successful as your commitment to the process will allow it to be. I sincerely hope that we all will consider the importance of these affiliate meetings both to our affiliates and to GDUI and her members and friends as a whole.
(End of note)

Affiliates present at the meeting were:
Dixieland Guide Dog Users
Guide Dog Users of Florida
Guide Dog Users of New York
Guide Dog Users of Washington State
Guests: President Penny Reeder
Lilian Scaife, GDUI Convention Committee Chair
Bob Acosta, GDUI Board member and Fundraising Committee Chair

Debbie Grubb invited all affiliates to present to her their ideas for the agenda of the GDUI Affiliate Roundup to be presented during the GDUI Convention on Sunday, July 5, at 2:00 PM. It is her desire that this meeting truly represents what the affiliates want and need it to be. Please contact Debbie either by email or telephone with your ideas for the agenda of this most important in-person meeting. The agenda items may consist of ideas for discussion or proposed guest speakers to present on specific issues.

In case there are matters that require voting during the GDUI Convention, each affiliate present during this event is invited to submit the name of the person representing it. Please contact Jane Sheehan for information regarding the number of delegates to which your affiliate is entitled. Please submit the name of your representative and the alternate, should you choose to appoint one, to me via email.

President Penny Reeder announced that the upcoming GDUI elections will take place from May 30 through June 7. Email notifications and post card notifications for those who do not have email with all of the necessary information to cast a vote via email or telephone will be sent shortly. Affiliate leaders were asked to encourage their members to vote because our votes are important in each election and a great deal of time, effort and funds have been allocated to this new, secret and totally accessible process.

Fund Raising Committee Chair, Bob Acosta provided the following information regarding their ongoing fund raising efforts on behalf of GDUI. Negotiations are under way to bring to the GDUI Board for their consideration a cruise in November of this year whereby $40.00 per cabin will be donated to GDUI.
The GDUI raffle with prizes of value, beauty, utility and fun are available. Tickets are $10.00 per piece and may be purchased either online or directly from Jane Sheehan, GDUI’s Office Manager.
Bob urged affiliate leaders to attempt to replicate these fund raising plans in their affiliates, stating that vendors are often willing to donate items to such a worthy cause as ours. He also explained that bike rides are extremely popular and many bike clubs will participate and the event can be used as a fund raiser.
Another fund raising idea that he brought forward was purchasing popular gift cards and selling them for a bit over the purchase price.
Bob explained the necessity of GDUI’s affiliate seeking a donor base including people from the general public.
He invited all to attend GDUI’s Fund Raising Committee meetings stating that the meeting agendas are always published on GDUI’s email lists.
Bob spoke about the nonprofit organization that he founded, Helping Hands for the Blind that provides immediate assistance to people who are blind via small grants. Affiliates were invited to submit a brief essay outlining how they would use seed money to assist them with fund raising. Please send all essays to boacosta@pacbell.net. The deadline for these submissions is September, 1, 2015.
At the conclusion of Bob’s presentation, President Penny Reeder reminded us of the wonderful GDUI programs and services that require this kind of committed and effective fund raising program.

Lilian Scaife, GDUI Convention Chair, provided a copy of the 2015 GDUI Convention program. Please find it at the end of this meeting summary.
Lilian presented the following most helpful and exciting information about the events to be held during the 2015 GDUI Convention.
On Monday, July 6, GDUI will host a reception to honor all of the guide dog schools who have contributed so much to these events for many years. Cost per ticket is $15.00 if purchased during event preregistration and $17.00 at the door. There will be a cash bar.
GDUI is providing a wonderfully creative method whereby GDUI members can remember and acknowledge their guide dogs and the schools from which they came via purchasing sponsorships that will allow them to include these remembrances in a Memory Book, a copy of which will be provided to each school whether or not a sponsorship has been purchased by one of their graduates. There will not be an opportunity to acknowledge individual trainers. Multiple sponsorships may be purchased. The funds from these purchases will cover the cost of the reception tickets for all of the guide dog school staff who attend as well as the cost of preparing the booklet. For more information about the various sponsorship levels and how to purchase them either on line or with Jane over the phone, please either call Jane or check it out on the GDUI website.
There is much anticipation of the GDUI silent auction. Donations for auction prizes are still welcome. A catalog of items for auction will be available online, via email and in accessible hard copy in the GDUI suite. A fast facts sheet will soon be available instructing all who are interested to learn about and bid on these items either in person or via telephone during the GDUI Convention. Bidding will begin on Sunday and will close on Wednesday.
The GDUI suite is a welcoming, safe place to come for assistance, empathy, relaxation, for a massage for your guide, to purchase items from GDUI and to check out the items that are included in the silent auction.
Past GDUI President, Jenine Stanley, is coordinating a group of volunteers who will provide friendly assistance in the guide dog relief areas.
Dallas, the life-sized stuffed guide dog in harness will go home with the lucky raffle winner. If desired, he will be shipped to his forever home by GDUI at no charge to his master or mistress. Tickets are available for purchase at the convention, online on the GDUI website and from Jane Sheehan.
Registration for the GDUI Convention is available via the ACB Convention Registration process.

The recording of the phone call upon which this summary is based may be accessed by calling (712) 432-0899; code: 1054127. Please note that the recording reference number is not required. Simply wait for a second or two and the recording of the May 21 meeting will commence.

Respectfully submitted,
Debbie Grubb
GDUI Affiliate Liaison

****
Budget & Finance Report:

The Budget & Finance Committee approved additional $435.00 expenditure to bring the new voting system up to the “Silver Package” level. The $1,400.00 package that we had originally authorized did not include the postcard mailings to our members without e-mail addresses. The system will now cost
$1,835.00 after a 20 percent discount.

We also approved the transfer of $2,000.00 from our brokerage account with First Georgetown into our account with Capital One. These funds will be used to defray the additional cost of the voting system, research by the grant writer, and possible additional costs of the convention.

Maria Hansen
Chair: Budget & Finance Committee

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Constitution Report:
Committee members: Maria Hansen, John McCann, Ellen Telker, Rick Roderick, Lynn Merrill, Penny Reeder

The Bylaws Committee and the Nominating Committee held two combined Candidate and Bylaws Forums on Saturday, April 25, 2015 and Friday, May 8, 2015.

I have spent several hours over the past couple weeks in communication with VoteNow going over the postcards, the e-mail notifications, the telephonic ballot (both touch tone and voice command) and the online ballot. I am very impressed with how responsive they have been to every concern and suggestion.

There is a ballot option that is accessible for all our members including those who are deaf/blind. This is a model for participatory democracy and I encourage all members to take advantage of this opportunity to guide the future of GDUI.

Maria Hansen
Chair: Constitution and Bylaws Committee

****
Convention Program Committee Report:
(Beginning of text of GDUI 2015 Convention program)
Deep in the hearts of guide dogs convention program, Guide Dog Users, Inc. Final
Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs 2015 Convention Program
President: Penny Reeder
Program Chair: Lilian Scaife
Registration: $15
GDUI’s Suite hours:
• Sunday July 5, noon to 5:00 PM
• Monday and Tuesday, July 6 & 7, 10:00AM to 5:00 PM
• Wednesday, July 8, 9:00AM to 12 noon.
Sunday, July 5
8:00 AM — 9:00 AM
GDUI Hotel Orientation
Once you learn your way around the hotel, you and your guide dog will zip through convention crowds and arrive at your destination relaxed and on time! Orientation provided by seasoned guide dog trainers and volunteers who understand the needs of guide dog users and our dogs.
11:00 AM — 12:00 PM
Helping Your Dog Adjust to the stresses of Convention Life
Presenter Becky Barnes Davidson
If this is your first convention or the first in a long time, this is a great way to learn tips for making the chaos of convention a less stressful experience for you and your dog. Presenters will share tips on dealing with all of those long mobility canes slashing back and forth at the level of your dogs’ heads, coping with the relief areas, finding help when you need it, meeting and greeting people and other dogs, and taking advantage of the respite offered in the GDUI Suite.
12:00 PM: GDUI Suite opens –
Socialize, take a break, and learn all about GDUI’s products from our very own Connie Jacomini. Give your dog the luxury of a 10-15 minute tension relieving and restorative canine massage by Carla Campbell; a professional canine massage therapist for $20, available by appointment and walk-in basis (Sunday-Wednesday). Don’t miss our “Silent Auction” where you can bid on a multitude of goodies ranging from tech gadgets to digital books to jewelry to a tasty treat from Penny’s kitchen. You’ll want to try your chances at our raffling of “Dallas,” a beautiful plush black lab winnable through either 3 raffle tickets for $5 or 7 for $10.00, as well as the GDUI Drawing, where a $10 chance might lead to all manner of prizes, including the Grand Prize of $1,000, and much more! The GDUI Suite is the place to be!
2:00 PM — 4:00 PM
Affiliate round-up (Location to be announced)
Affiliate representatives should come and introduce themselves to Debbie Grub, GDUI’s Affiliates’ Liaison. To assure that each affiliate’s votes count during the GDUI Caucus and business meeting.
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
GDUI Board meeting and annual report
President: Penny Reeder

Monday, July 6
6:45 AM — 8:15 AM
GDUI Breakfast Club (meet in lobby)
The Mad Hatter Café
Treat your dog to a short two-block walk, treat yourself to the best in Southern breakfast fare, and visit with GDUI friends and their dog guides.
7:30 AM — 8:30 AM
GDUI Hotel Orientation
Once you learn your way around the hotel, you and your guide dog will zip through convention crowds and arrive at your destinations relaxed and on time! Orientation provided by seasoned guide dog trainers and volunteers who understand the needs of guide dog users and our dogs.
1:15 PM — 5:30 PM
GDUI Opening Session
1:15 introductions and preview of the Convention Program
2:45 PM
Self-familiarization to new environments: help your guide dog and yourself become oriented quickly and safely to a new location or unusual situation. Learn the basics from a seasoned trainer!
Presenter: David Locklin, Class Coordinator — Leader Dogs for the Blind, Rochester Heights, MI
4:15 PM Guide Dog School Updates
What’s going on at the guide dog schools? What changes have they made over the past year, and what are they planning for the future? What are the qualifications that prospective students need to meet? Are there innovations coming, and
What do we need to know about them?
Always a highlight at the GDUI convention, the Guide Dog Schools Round-up lets us hear from the people who know the most about our schools.
7:15 PM to 10:00 PM – $15 $17
The Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception
As dog guide users, we all know how important our schools’ investments in personnel, breeding and acquisition of dogs, training time, and money are for creating excellent matches for each of us.
We at GDUI want to recognize and thank all of the guide dog schools for the time, energy and dollars they pour into our partnerships. As our way of saying thank you The 2015 GDUI Program Committee is pleased to host our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception. Come and Express your gratitude to the professionals who make it possible for us to achieve greater independence through our partnerships with our guide dogs.
Cash bar and snacks.
Tuesday, July 7
6:45 AM — 8:15 AM
GDUI Breakfast Club (meet in lobby)
The Mad Hatter Café
Treat your dog to a short two-block walk, treat yourself to the best in Southern breakfast fare, and visit with GDUI friends and their dog guides.
Trainers will be available to assist with mobility questions and solve any problems.
1:15PM — 5:30 PM GDUI Program
1:15 Past, Present & Future of Guide Dog Harnesses
Did you know that the first guide dog users didn’t even have a handle to hold onto? Learn how harnesses have evolved over time, and what we might expect from the “space-age materials” of the future.
Presenter: Lukas Franck, Senior Consultant, Special Projects, the Seeing Eye, Morristown, NJ
2:45 PM Dual Purpose Service Dogs
Sometimes blindness is not the least challenging of our disabilities. Learn about guide dogs who are trained to meet the needs of people with additional disabilities.
Presenters:
Robert Wendler, Director of Canine Operations, Guide Dogs of the Desert, Palm Springs, CA
Nicole Meadowcroft, President, Custom Canines Service Dog Academy, Madison, WI
4:15 PM
Emergency Preparedness
Do you know how to prepare yourself and your guide dog for an emergency? What exactly is an emergency preparedness kit? Learn where you and your dog can find shelter if an emergency strikes.
Presenter: Landa Phelan, Certified Emergency Preparedness Instructor, Hawaii Association of the Blind, Honolulu, Hawaii
7:15 PM — 8:30 PM
Guided Massage for the Working Guide: A Hands-On Workshop $6 ($8)
(Limited to 20 participants)
Presenter: Carla Campbell, Professional Canine Massage Therapist, Quadrussage, Menlo Park, CA
Learn & practice simple massage techniques designed to help counteract & reduce long-term impact guide work may have on your dog’s physical & mental well-being. There will also be a brief discussion on guide dog ”wear and tear” and suggestions on how to mitigate those effects anywhere & everywhere.
Wednesday, July 8
6:45 AM — 8:15 AM
GDUI Breakfast Club (meet in lobby)
The Mad Hatter Café
Treat your dog to a short two-block walk, treat yourself to the best in Southern breakfast fare, and visit with GDUI friends and their dog guides.
Trainers will be available to assist with mobility questions and solve any problems.
12:15 PM — 2:30 PM
GDUI Luncheon & Presentation $28 ($30)
Dr. Amanda Florsheim DVM, Dallas TX.
Do you wonder exactly how dogs communicate with each other and how this may impact your guide dog’s interactions with the dogs you meet along your way? During this talk, we will discuss visual, auditory, olfactory and other ways that dogs communicate with one another. We will also discuss how service dogs may be more limited in these options while working and how this could impact other dogs’ responses to them
Drawing for Dallas and raffle
2:45 PM
GDUI Business Meeting & Caucus
4:15 PM — 5:30 PM
Guided Massage for the Working Guide: A Hands-On Workshop $6 ($8)
(Limited to 20 participants)
Presenter: Carla Campbell, Professional Canine Massage Therapist, Quadrussage, Menlo Park, CA
Learn & practice simple massage techniques designed to help counteract & reduce long-term impact guide work may have on your dog’s physical & mental well-being. There will also be a brief discussion on guide dog ”wear and tear” and suggestions on how to mitigate those effects anywhere & everywhere.

Note: Jenine Stanley has recruited a cadre of dedicated volunteers who will be available all week to answer your questions and assist you with solving doggie “pic-up” and other relief-area concerns.
We wish to thank our entire dedicated deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs team whose members have worked so hard and so cooperatively to make the 2015 convention a success! What a team! Thank you, each of you.
Sincerely,
Lilian Scaife, GDUI Convention Program Committee Chair
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

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Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program (DAPP) Report
May 2015

The DAPP team is happy to announce we have not received any requests for financial assistance from any GDUI member. We are extremely happy to learn our members are safe, doing well and living the dream with their guide dogs!

DAPP team member, Ken Metz wrote a wonderful summary of an emergency situation he experienced called, “PLANNING AHEAD FOR YOUR GUIDE DOG WHEN YOU ARE TAKEN TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM OF A HOSPITAL”. By sharing his unexpected situation, it shines a light on how important it is for all guide/service dog handlers to have a plan in place for either family or friends who will care for our dogs while we recover from a medical situation.

Ken’s message was shared on the leadership, chat and board Email lists.

Ms. Landa Phelan will be giving a presentation during the GDUI activities at the ACB 2015 Convention. If you are in Dallas, don’t miss Landa’s presentation! She will be discussing emergency preparedness for you and your guide dog. Landa will describe important items to have in your emergency backpack.

Until next time, safe travels!
Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, DAPP chair

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Editor’s Report:
The deadline for the spring issue is past. It will be shorter than usual, but it will get out in time for the pre-convention information to be relevant.

The fall issue deadline is August 14.
Nolan

****
Fund-raising Committee Report to the Board of Directors
May 30, 2015

Dear Colleagues:
The Fund-Raising Committee has been very active throughout the month of May.

At the top of our agenda are our efforts to have a successful summer drawing on behalf of Guide Dog Users, Inc. At present, we are fast approaching $2,000 in donations for this Drawing. The winners will be announced at the Luncheon of our National Convention to be held on Wednesday, July 8, 2015, in Dallas, Texas. The final collection of drawing donations will conclude on Tuesday, July 7, at 5 p.m. Central time.

Our prizes are as follows:

$1,000 in cash donated by Helping Hands For The Blind
A $500 Gift Certificate donated by Helping Hands For The Blind
A $500 Silpada Jewelry Gift Card
A Keurig Coffee Maker
A George Foreman Grill with removable plates donated by Robert Acosta
A Sky-Wave Radio donated by the C. Crane Company
A lovely chiming clock, which plays 12 songs, donated by Speak to Me, Denise Russell, (800) 248-9965, Extension 104
A Bose Wave Radio donated by Robert Acosta
A Gift Basket containing beachwear and a $500 Gift Certificate for a cruise to be taken within one year donated by Travel One

The tickets are $10 per chance and donors can call Jane Sheehan, our Office Manager at (866) 799-8436. Winners need not be present.

Our Committee is also investigating the possibility of holding a spring 2016 Radio Auction, using the facilities of ACB Radio. In our investigation, we have learned that ACB Radio will charge our affiliate $100 to use one of the stations for such an auction. Prizes will come hopefully from our affiliates, members and friends. We thank Marlaina Lieberg and Larry Turnbull for their guidance in this venture. When we have gathered all of the necessary facts involved with such an auction, we shall present this to the Board of Directors for your advice and hopefully your approval.

Another important matter on the agenda of the Fund-Raising Committee is to gather sponsors for our 2016 GDUI National Convention. Again, we are gathering the facts in order to present a complete report to the Board of Directors for your advice and hopefully your approval.

The Chair of the Fund-Raising Committee is much honored to be invited to speak to affiliate presidents and other leaders on Thursday, May 21.

Finally, may I conclude this Report by thanking the members of the Board of Directors for all of your assistance to the Fund-Raising Committee. I would also like to thank our hard-working committee members on the Fund-Raising Committee for their great ideas and support.

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Acosta, Chair
Fund-Raising Committee
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

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Guide Dog School Liaison Report

Attended California State Board of Guide Dog for the Blind Board Meeting on Monday, April 20, 2015 this was a three hour long meeting.

Board Business was short. The Cruz of the meeting focused on the issue out of state trainers providing follow up services to their graduates in California.

California State law requires all guide dog trainers who do business in California (including out of state guide dog schools) to be licensed by state of California.

Much discussion was focused on videotaping requirement for application process. Concerns were for confidentiality of individual(s) being videotaped along with the potential for distractibility of team being taped and stress related to pressure of being taped. California Board seemed to think videotaping a team being trained was not a problem and who would not want to help an Instructor get his/her guide dog trainer license.

Several participants spoke sharing concern about being taped while being trained.

Concerns were mentioned with the fact that those graduates who graduate from California Guide Dog Schools information is sent to the California Guide Dog Board. Are individuals informed this information is being shared with the California Board? Are consent forms signed. Questions were asked regarding what is done with the video tapes after viewed and submitted for approval for licensing.

Jim Kutsch gave a summary of International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) Standards Full document of standards accompanied pre-teleconference materials.

The IGDF is comprised of over 80 member organizations, whose purpose is to It shares information, experience, methods and standards for both new and existing guide dog schools wishing to improve the quality of their guide dog programs.

Questions were asked regarding having reciprocal agreement with Guide Dog Schools Accredited by IGDF and California Board

Sticking point seems to be weather follow up services are considered training Board agreed to investigate this and at first seemed hesitant to provide an estimated date of when to expect findings or even a preliminary report. Questions arose weather there needs to be a change in California State law to that would enables a trainer from out of state to assist a California Graduate without having to be licensed by California Board.

This is a very sticky and hot issue for many guide dog users in California as well as those living in other states.

Proposed Project:

Met with Dixie Sanderson (Guide Dog Survey) and Vickie Curley (Chair of Special Concerns committee to discuss potential of project to take guide dog survey beyond providing written information for those individuals considering a first guide dog or individual wishing to attend a different guide dog school for his/her next dog.

A Separate document labeled Draft Proposal describes the intent of this project.

I’ve written up basics of this project for board approval of said project the
Respectfully Submitted

Pat Hill
Guide Dog School Liaison

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Guide Dog School Survey Update
May 2015

As of today the 2015 Guide Dog School Survey is up on the GuideDogUsersInc.org website.

At the following link:
http://guidedogusersinc.org/resources/gdui-school-survey/

A great big thank you to both Will and Ted for all of your time and effort to get this project published.

Also, thank you very much to the staff at the guide dog schools who took time to answer the questions in this lengthy survey.

To date the followings schools have submitted a completed 2015 GDUI Guide Dog School Survey.

“Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation
Freedom Guide Dogs
Gallant Hearts Guide Dog Center
Guide Dogs for the Blind
“Guide Dogs of America
Guiding Eyes for the Blind
“Leader Dogs for the Blind
Mira Foundation USA
Southeastern Guide Dogs,
The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind Inc.
The OccuPaws Guide Dog Association
The Seeing Eye Inc.

Three of the above named school surveys are still in editing, Fidelco, Southeastern and Mira Foundation.

The following schools have not responded:
Custom Canines Service Dog Academy
Guide Dogs of Texas, Inc.
Guide dogs of the Desert
Independence Guide Dogs
Kansas Specialty Dog Service, Incorporated
Pilot Dogs

And, Eye of the Pacific Guide Dogs and Mobility Services, Incorporated did respond with a statement that the survey didn’t pertain to their program.
Their program basically provides the funding for Hawaiian students to go to a couple of overseas guide dog programs.

Dixie

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Membership Committee Report
May 24, 2015

This will be a short update since we have had only one meeting since the last GDUI board meeting. We met on April 9, 2015. All of our members were not able to attend but since we did not really have any decisions to make we went ahead and had a meeting. By the time this meeting took place most of the life members had been contacted to make sure they were receiving information from GDUI in their preferred format. We all really enjoyed talking with these members and they seemed to enjoy having been contacted. I would like to thank my committee members for taking time out of their busy lives to help make these calls.

There is still interest in working on the possibility of beginning a fund for guide dogs that have serious health issues. We have a lot of groundwork to do first and this will be discussed again at our June phone meeting. It may take us several months before we have a plan if we feel we are able to get something like this off the ground.

The business cards should be ready in time for our convention in July.

I still have a goal of contacting vendors to see if they are interested in giving discounts to our members. I have not worked on this project recently due to various circumstances and work but have a goal to spend more time working on this project before our next board meeting.

In closing, I would like to thank all the members of the committee for their support and their willingness to help with our various projects. I would also like to thank Annie Chiappetta for helping with any writing that has to be done. It is very much appreciated.

If any GDUI member has any suggestions you would like for us to work on that would benefit members please send me your suggestions.

Respectfully submitted
Membership Committee chair
Betsy Grenevitch

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Nominating Committee Report:
May 2015

The committee is happy to announce we have three GDUI members running for two director positions on the board. The candidates are: Vicki Curley (Incumbent), Ken Metz and Dixie Sanderson (Incumbent). Thank you to our candidates for participating in the upcoming election. We wish each and every candidate the best of luck!

The Nominating Committee held two telephonic Candidate Forums. The first one was on Saturday, April 25, 2015 and the second on Friday, May 8, 2015. This was a wonderful opportunity to get to know our candidates and ask them questions before voting begins on Saturday, May 30th and closes on June 7, 2015.

We encourage every GDUI member to vote in the upcoming elections and the proposed Bylaws! For those members using a computer, Vote Now will email you the instructions and your personal identification number.
For members who don’t use a computer, Vote Now will mail via USPs the instructions and your personal identification number.

I want to thank Will Burley, GDUI First Vice-President for temporarily taking over my duties as chair of the Nominating Committee in my unexpected absence. Thank you Will for stepping up and stepping in and making sure our candidates were highlighted and showcased in the best possible way during the two candidate and Bylaws forums!

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, chair of the Nominating Committee

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Office Manager Report:
I really don’t have anything to report for the office manager’s report: the spring PawTracks is out, products are going well. Status quo here. I will prepare the income and expenses report and send to Lynn before the deadline.
Jane Sheehan

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Products Report:
Committee members: Maria, Penny, Lynn and Ginger.

So far, the Products Committee has spent $324.07 on new products for the GDUI suite. These include some fabulous travel beds, salmon treats, micro fiber bone shaped towels, micro fiber drying mitts with bone and paw print designs and cooling bandanas. Quantities are limited so shop early.

Sarah forwarded our Nonprofit Tax I.D. to the company so they waved the 8.9 percent sales tax and we also took advantage of an additional 40 percent discount. We will be able to offer these products at a discount from the retail price and still make a nice profit.

The Committee will be meeting again soon to consider additional products.

Maria Hansen
Chair: Products Committee

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Program Committee Report

Everything is on schedule.
Website
– End users had issues with the site that have now been resolved.
– The convention page is up and includes everything related to the convention.
School Sponsorship – Guide Dog School Appreciation – Tribute Booklet
– Deadline date has been moved to June 12th to sign up for the tribute booklet

Dallas Raffle
– Tickets continue being sold for 3 for $5 or 7 for $10 via the site.
– The corresponding site has been tested by the program team.
– The revised website will be announced via advertisements soon.

Mad Hatter Cafe Menus
– Will be sent to webmaster next week to upload

Auction
– GDUI Auction Catalog will be uploaded by no later than June 15th.
– Auction items are still coming in.
– I want to thank everyone that has donated to the GDUI auction

Puppy Raiser Clubs
– Reached out to them in the Dallas area for volunteers.

GDUI Ambassadors
– Will be collaborating with the GDUI Chair of Memberships for GDUI ambassadors.

Twitter Group
– Volunteers consisting of GDUI members both attending and not-attending the convention will be tweeting of the event’s activities throughout the day.

Respectfully submitted by
Lillian Scaife Program Chair

****
Publications Committee Report for May 2015
Compiled by Annie Chiappetta, Co-Chair
With assistance by Michael Malver, Co-Chair

Greetings, we are happy to announce that since our last report, the email lists are working well. Thanks go out to Ken Metz for helping out with the moderating. We are helping out with various projects for the convention.
Assisting the Program Committee with assembling the Guide Dog Schools Appreciation tribute booklet.
Assisted in preparing the reception letter
Assisted in preparing the donation letter for reception
Assisted in proofing the GDUI program
Assisted the Membership Committee in selecting the type and printing on the business cards

Social Media Activities
Facebook: holding steady at 87 likes. Boosting post does cost money, so word-of-mouth has to be the best option for us right now unless we want to pay to boost the page/posts.
Posting relevant material on Facebook along with the President and 1st VP
Reviewing posts from followers and making sure the posts are relevant or removing them if spam.
Twitter:
We now have 38 followers.
For the past month, our account has sent out several tweets a week. Many were convention-related, but information on why not to pet service dogs, as well as a helpful video on Guide and Assistance Dog etiquette was also tweeted.
Program Chair, Lilian S. and President Penny are working on recruiting a team to tweet during the GDUI convention activities/ACB highlights.

Publication Project:
“Is a Guide Dog the Right Choice for you?” booklet is in final proofing stages. Once it is proofread and approved by Penny and the Publications Committee, it will be posted on the website and a press release will be distributed. We may wish to consider obtaining quotes for a professional printing service to format and print fold over booklets in large print. We should also consider copyrighting the publications. Currently, the publications committee has no budget line, so this request will go in for next year’s budget in 2016.
The other smaller pamphlets are being revised and combined and may be less complicated in formatting for printing. These should also be considered for copyrighting.
All pamphlets and the booklet will be able to be printed from the website regardless of whether or not we wish to print hard copies. Hard copies do fill table space and folks do request them so it is something to think about.
This concludes the Publications Committee Report.

****
Public Relations/Website Report:
May 2015

The PR/Website Committee has been hard at work preparing for the GDUI 2015 convention. Below is a list of updates to the website related to convention:

Created the Dallas Drawing Page
Created Dallas Drawing Form
Linked Dallas Drawing Form To PayPal
Added Dallas Drawing Form to Dallas Drawing Page
Created School Reception Sponsorship Page
Created School Reception Sponsorship Form
Linked School Reception Sponsorship Form to PayPal
Added School Reception Sponsorship Form to School Reception Sponsorship page
Created Summer Drawing Page
Created Summer Drawing Form
Linked Summer Drawing Form to PayPal
Added Summer Drawing Form to Summer Drawing Page
Created Food Menu Page
Created Silent Auction Page
Created Top Bidder Blog Category
Created 2015 Convention Page
Added Auction Call to Action to 2015 Convention Home Page
Added Top Bidder to 2015 Convention Home Page
Created 2015 Convention Menu
Added 2015 Convention Menu to all 2015 Convention Pages
Created Dallas Drawing graphic
Added Dallas Drawing Graphic to Convention Home Page
Linked Dallas Drawing graphic to Dallas Drawing Page
Created Summer Drawing graphic
Added Summer Drawing Graphic to Convention Home Page
Linked Summer Drawing graphic to Summer Drawing Page
Created School Reception Sponsorship Graphic
Added School Reception Sponsorship Graphic to Convention Home Page
Linked School Reception Sponsorship Graphic to School Sponsorship Page
Added Call to Action at top of site home page leading to Emergency Preparedness page
Created 2015 Convention Graphic
Added 2015 Convention Graphic To site home page
Linked 2015 Convention Graphic to site home page.
Restored Donation Form to Original Form before Convention Additions.

We are still awaiting a few items from the Programs Committee and we will be done with convention updates.

An invoice for these updates will be coming as soon as all items are received from the Programs Committee to webmaster@guidedogusersinc.org.

We recently added the Guide Dog School surveys and there are a few more that will be added.

Looking Ahead:

The Committee will be working on creating a standard operating procedure document to assist board members, committee chairs and volunteers with knowing and understanding the correct procedures for proposed updates to the website, turnaround times, cutoff deadlines for event updates, etc.

The Committee will also work with the Budget and Finance Committee on assessing the feasibility of a charge back budget for major updates to the website by committees.

The Committee will also convene to determine upcoming contract needs for the type of website we have, realistic needs of GDUI, costs, etc. The Committee will work with the Budget and Finance Committee and ultimately the board. The members have been chosen for the project and once hearing from everyone, that list will be forwarded to the board.

Respectfully submitted by Will Burley

****
Special Concerns Report:
Hello everyone, I hope spring has been good to you. I am still sporting a pretty purple cast as it is going to take some time for my left hand to heal. Unfortunately, I cannot work my dog at this time. I am so looking forward to having this cast removed so Valor and I can get out and enjoy this terrific spring, summer weather.

The Empathizer team is poised and ready to assist anyone who might be dealing with difficult issues involving the working or otherwise relationship with our wonderful guides. They have not only reached out over the phone to folks, but they have reached out through email as well. Whatever needs to happen to let folks know that there are dog guide handlers ready and willing to lend a listening ear whenever it is needed.

Dixie Sanderson, Pat Hill, and I would like to bring forth a project for the board’s approval at the May 30 meeting. This project could easily fall under the guide dog school liaison or special concerns committee. The three of us will be seeking the board’s approval on a project that apparently has been near and dear to all of our hearts for a long time. We are very excited about this project and are looking forward to sharing the details with the board. There will be much more information in the guy dog school liaison report.

Respectfully submitted, Vicki Curley special concerns committee chair.

****
Treasurer’s Report:
GDUI Treasurer’s Report
Income and Expenses
January 1 – May 22, 2015

Checking account balances as of January 1, 2015:
Capital One Bank: $10,708.86
Carrollton Bank: $2,570.04
Total checking account opening balance: $13,278.90
First Georgetown balance as of March 25, 2015: $117,007

Income:
Capital One Bank: $5,592.52
Carrollton Bank: $6,382.00
Total income: $11,974.52, broken down as follows:

Fund-raising income: $5,728.52
Sales through MissionFish $8.52
2015 summer drawing chances: $1,600.00
Silpada jewelry party: $550.00
Donations, unspecified: $2,350.00
Donations, unspecified from ACB/MMS: $220.00
2015 summer drawing prize $1,000.00

Membership income: $3,605.00
Dues, 2015: $1,110.00
Dues, 2015, from affiliates: $1,380.00
Dues, 2016: $15.00
Dues, life membership: $1,100.00

Product income: $2,166.00
Product sales: $2,004.00
Product shipping: $162.00

Program income: $475.00
Dallas stuffed dog raffle: $100.00
Tribute book sponsorships: $375.00
Expenses:
Capital One Bank: $3,044.16
Carrollton Bank: $1,194.11
Total expenses: $4,238.27, broken down as follows:

Legislative Expenses: $196.00
Travel: $196.00

Membership expenses: $2,336.51
Per capita to ACB: $2,185.00
Copying voting info for members: $136.53
Business cards: $14.98

National office expenses: $631.25
Credit card processing fees: $451.11
PayPal processing fees: $34.39
Telephone: $145.75

Product expenses: $868.46
Product Mailing and handling: $329.89
Product purchase: $538.87

Publications expenses: $205.75
Mailing: $5.75
Production, 2014 PawTracks: $200.00

Closing checking account balances as of May 22, 2015:
Capital One Bank: $13,257.22
Carrollton Bank: $7,757.93
Total ending balance: $21,015.15
First Georgetown balance as of May 22, 2015: $119,154.00

Respectfully,

Lynn Merrill
(End of committee reports)
+++++
GDUI Board Meeting Minutes
July 5, 2015 during the ACB Convention
In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President: Will Burley, First Vice President: Maria Hansen, Second Vice President: Sarah Calhoun, Secretary and Lynn Merrill, Treasurer.
Directors:
Bob Acosta, Vickie Curley, Betsy Grenevitch and Dixie Sanderson.
Debbie Grubb, Affiliate Liaison.
Excused absence: Anne Chiappetta, Director: Jane Sheehan, Director: Nolan Crabb, PawTracks Editor and Pat Hill, Guide Dog School Liaison.

President Penny Reeder opened the meeting with welcoming remarks.

The group approved the meeting agenda and additions.

Maria Hansen made a motion to upgrade the Louisville Ladies suite accommodations for them to have access to breakfast and a happy hour each day during the GDUI convention. The extra cost of $30.00 per room for a total of $120.00. A donation of $60.00 towards the extra cost was offered by Vickie Curley.
The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

President Reeder nominated Dixie Sanderson to the Budget and Finance Committee. Seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item, Old business:
Even though the telephone weekly announcements have low activity, Bob Acosta will still produce them at a cost of $5.00 per month.

Maria Hansen explained, an emergency budget and finance meeting was held in order to approve the additional funds for the voting system provided by Vote Now. In the original proposal it was thought that it covered the cost of Vote Now mailings to members without a computer. The mailed packet included their identification information, telephone number of the voting system, and date and time. It was found later it did not cover that cost. An additional $435.00 needed to be approved immediately for the elections to take place.

In addition, the budget and finance committee approved additional funds of $412.00 to our Web Master of extra hours over and above our contractual agreement.

Agenda item, New Business:
The group discussed the issue of California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind not allowing guide dog instructors from out-of-state schools who do not hold a license by that board, to provide follow-up services to their California clients.

President Penny Reeder stated, Guide Dog Users of California (GDUC) has asked GDUI to support and assist in writing a resolution on this topic expressing our disapproval. The resolution would be presented to ACB during the convention for approval.

President Reeder requested the board to be polled so each individual could state his or her position regarding GDUI’s involvement in writing of a resolution.

All board members agreed that GDUI representatives should be involved in composing a resolution.

Meeting adjourned.

Note: Please see attachment after my signature.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary

Below are four attachments recording voting and there results which took place on the Board Email list.

Attachment #1:
Three motions submitted by Maria Hansen via the GDUI board list, July 27, 2015.

Members of the Budget and Finance Committee (Maria, Lynn, Will, Sarah, Jane, and Dixie) met on Wednesday evening to address a few issues that needed attention. The Budget & Finance Committee is submitting the following three motions to the voting members of the Board for approval via email.

GDUI approves that a debit card for our Capital One checking account be issued to Sarah Calhoun.
Motion seconded by Bob Acosta. Motion unanimously passed via board Email list.

2. Vote to give Sarah Calhoun access to the Guide Dog Users, Inc. PayPal
account with transfer authority directly to our account with Capital One.
Motion seconded by Bob Acosta. Motion unanimously passed via board Email list.

3. Move to increase the line item for shipping under office expenses in the
2015 Budget by an additional $300 and to balance that expenditure by taking those funds from the greater-than-expected funds raised from the Summer Raffle line item.
Motion seconded by Will Burley. Motion unanimously carried.

Attachment #2:
Second motion and results via the GDUI board list, August 15, 2015.

President Penny Reeder formally made a motion for Connie Jacomini to be named as our GDUI Products Committee Chair.
The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting via the GDUI board list, discussion took place. Motion unanimously carried.

Attachment #3:
Third motion and results via the GDUI board list, August 27, 2015.

Bob Acosta made a motion for the Board of Directors of Guide Dog users, Inc. approve a Radio Auction for GDUI to be conducted by the Fund-Raising Committee on Sunday, April 3, 2016, at a two-hour time slot approved by ACB Radio at the cost of one-hundred dollars.

I sincerely hope to receive a second and welcome discussion.
The GDUI Radio Auction will in essence follow the rules set forth by ACB for its Auction near Christmas. We shall seek prizes of a certain value to be specified at a later time from our members and friends.
We hope to make two thousand dollars on this auction. We shall seek no prizes from corporations, but just from our members and our friends.
I sincerely hope that the Board will see its way clear to approve this Motion.

The motion was seconded by Lynn Merrill. Prior to voting via the GDUI board list, discussion took place. The motion unanimously carried.

Attachment #4:
Fourth motion and results via the GDUI board list on September 12, 2015.

Lynn Merrill made the following motion.
I move that the proposed letter, which was composed by the task force led by Charlie Crawford, be approved by the GDUI Board of Directors and sent to DOJ. Further, if seconded, I vote yes!

Lynn Merrill

The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun. Prior to voting via the GDUI board list, discussion took place. The motion unanimously carried.

Attachment #5:
Fifth motion and results via the GDUI board list on September 13, 2015.

Will burley made the following motion:
I would like to make the motion that the below language be used as the shell of the forthcoming webmaster contract.

Note: Along with the motion, the language of the proposed webmaster contract was submitted in its entirety.

The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun.

Download link:Paw Tracks Fall 2015

JOIN us ON A SEA CRUISE TO BERMUDA

JOIN us ON A SEA CRUISE TO BERMUDA

Dear Members and Friends of Guide Dog Users, Inc.,
We invite you to join us on a romantic cruise to Bermuda from Sunday, October 9 to Sunday October 16, 2016. Ours will be a 7-day cruise, departing from and returning to New York. In the interim, we will enjoy several days exploring the romantic island of Bermuda.

We shall be cruising on the Norwegian Shipping Line. The spectacular ship, called Breakaway, will provide an Accessibility Desk onboard and the Shipping Line also provides a Desk in the United States which can handle any paperwork for our dogs. Although some travelers cruise to Bermuda using only a birth certificate and a state I.D. as identification, the cruise line advises passengers to travel with passports to eliminate any hassles should your plans change and require you to travel back to the USA via a conveyance other than the cruise ship. Should you wish to purchase trip insurance, it is also available from Norwegian Shipping line.

Are you ready for a sea cruise on the Breakaway? For more information or to book your cabin, call Michelle Zimmerman, Senior Personal Cruise Consultant, Norwegian Shipping Lines, who will be handling our cruise. To book a cabin, you will need to remit a $280.00 per person deposit which includes a 30 dollar surcharge given to GDUI. Prices are subject to change. Please note, until the deposit is made, the rate is not locked in, so don’t wait.

If you wish, Michelle can arrange your plane fares and hotel accommodations should you wish to arrive in New York City a day or two prior to sailing.

If you call by December 31, 2015, you can take advantage of several offered promotions, and additional promotions will be offered in the months to follow.

Current promotions include: (book by 12/31/15) and enjoy the free perks of unlimited alcohol package, free specialty dining, free internet minutes or per port shore excursion credits.

All cabin prices include port charges and taxes.

Studio Cabin $1201.90 (single guest only)

Inside Cabin $1683.80 (double occupancy); $2235.70 (triple occupancy); $2767.60 (quad occupancy)

Ocean view $2383.80 (double occupancy); $3165.70 (triple occupancy); $3697.60 (quad occupancy)

Balcony $2483.80 (double occupancy); $3015.70 (triple occupancy); $3547.60 (quad occupancy)

You can pay for your booking via monthly installments. Once we book eight cabins, we will become an official group and receive special group amenities.

You can receive a refund of all payments up to July 26, 2016, which is 75 days prior to the cruise. You can pay for your booking via monthly installments.

Call Michelle Zimmerman, Senior Personal Cruise Consultant, Norwegian Shipping Line today. Please note: the name of our cruise is GDUI Cruise to Bermuda; please use this title when booking your cabin.

Michelle’s contact information is:
Toll-free Number: (877) 416-9722, Ext. 4398
Direct Number: (954-514-4398
Mobile Number: 303-907-1067

See you in Bermuda!
Robert Acosta Chair
Fund-Raising Committee,
Guide Dog Users, Inc.